This post, from literary agent Rachelle Gardner, originally appeared on her Rants & Ramblings On Life As A Literary Agent blog on 6/15/09.
Last week at the Write-To-Publish conference, the one topic that kept coming up in conversations, panels, and workshops was AUTHOR PLATFORM. Yes, the hated p-word!
I explained again and again that publishing just ain’t what it used to be. Gone are the days when publishers were solely responsible for the marketing of a book.
Today’s audience is more segmented than it has ever been before. People have more options for their leisure time than ever before – 600 channels on television, movies on demand, video games and Wii, and then of course, the Internet. It’s harder than ever to attract people to books. The way to do it is increasingly through personal connection, and that means YOU, the author, making connections with your readers.
(This discussion applies mostly to non-fiction writers, but you novelists, take note. It will help you, too, if you want strong sales on your book.)
It has never been more crucial for authors to play a major part in marketing themselves, BUT it has never been easier. Where are readers hanging out these days? The Internet. That’s the best place for you to find readers for your books.
The Internet has leveled the playing field. With a well-written and compelling blog, you have the potential to build a significant platform. If you take the time to research website optimization and do everything recommended to build traffic on your blog, you can build a sizable audience in a matter of months. Then when you begin to use Twitter and Facebook strategically, you can grow your audience exponentially.
You can, and you must.