Better than Author Platforms: The Writer Community and Your Place in it.
This probably goes against everything you’ve ever heard about author platforms, but here I go: for fiction, it’s not terribly important to have one.
There. I said it. But before you go whooping in celebration off into the night, let me clarify:
An author platform suggests an existing readership, a high level of expertise (for example, membership and participation in a writing organization), and previous publishing credits.
But if you’ve written your debut novel, and write adult sci-fi, you don’t have pub credits, and you’re ineligible for membership into the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
And for someone who spends her days looking for new authors to sign, it wouldn’t be very fair of me to say, “Tough luck!” and penalize them for something they just haven’t gotten to yet in their publishing journey.
Pub credits are nice. As is everything else I’ve mentioned. But not required. What IS required is the COMMUNITY that will support, promote, and consume any book once it’s out. And a community full of laypeople is great, but the community I really WANT to see is the WRITING COMMUNITY. I want you to show me that there are other writers there for you, waiting to cheer you on.
It’s important to me that an author is on Twitter and gets Publisher’s Lunch. It’s important that they know how the business works, have critique partners, and have writer friends on social media in their genre and across genres.
It’s COMMUNITIES that sell your book when it comes out.
Ultimately, I think the concept of a platform for a fiction author has gained so much traction in recent years because it’s a good indicator of community, a built-in plan for outreach. Not because it’s necessary in and of itself.
No, it’s your people, your tribe that will get you where they’re going. They’re the ones that will build you up, and support you. And THAT’s the type of platform I want to see.