Rachelle Gardner (an insightful agent) re-posted a previous blog entry yesterday on the necessity of a platform for fiction writers. She believes platform will become more critical for fiction writers because of increasing competition. It makes sense. The more you do to distinguish yourself, the better you fare.
Her post included excerpts from authors regarding their feelings on platform. They mention things like public speaking, sending copies of your book out, and even blogging. Basically, they focus on ways to garner a following. Having a good story makes one author’s list.
I realize non-fiction writers need a platform as a means of credentials or authority for supporting the statements within their product; however, a fiction writers’ product speaks for itself and its quality can be judged by its readers. Is it platform enough? I at first thought it was.
After some thought, I say that with the upheaval in the publishing industry, the economic downturn, and dwindling marketing budgets, Ms. Gardner makes a good point in reminding us to build our platform. New authors like new bands or any other mass media hopeful must make distinguish themselves. I'm sure everyone has probably heard a local band sound better than one on the radio. They just hadn't been in the right place at the right time. Platform, then, is about making enough opportunities to put yourself in the right place at the right time. It only takes one "right" person.
Incidentally, I look at my bookshelf and see books I’ve bought due to blogs. Ah, the blog platform at work! What about you? Do you think fiction writers need a platform?
UPDATE - Jessica at BookEnds just (~7AM) posted on "What Authors Can Do to Sell Books" -- a very similar topic if you want another good read.