Write Lots Of Books Or Build An Author Platform. Which Is More Effective?

It seems there are two opposing camps in terms of author marketing.

On the one hand, there are  people who say “Just write a lot of books” and the books themselves will sell the other books and you don’t need to do any other marketing. The evidence for this can be seen in Amanda Hocking’s ebook sales numbers and other writers on JA Konrath’s (brilliant) blog who basically write and distribute ebooks but do little hardcore marketing. It looks like they all do something but don’t focus on it.

On the other hand, there is the “build your author platform” camp advocating blogging, social networking, speaking, podcasting, videos and more. Obviously all this marketing takes away from writing, so which should you focus on?

I try to be very careful on the blog to only talk about things I’ve done myself. I don’t have a huge back-list of novels ready to load up into the Kindle store, I’m not making thousands per month on ebook sales. I have built a reasonable author platform and I have enjoyed every minute of it, so clearly I sit in the second camp at the moment.

BUT/ Amanda Hocking’s sales numbers gave me pause so I thought we’d better discuss it here. Justine Musk also wrote a brilliant post over at Tribal Writer on the same topic.

Here’s my thinking on the matter but please leave a comment as to what you think at the bottom as this is a critical discussion point as we all have limited time.

What are your overall goals for your career as a writer?

I want to be able to define myself as an author, speaker and blogger and I want to help people. I’m also an entrepreneur and sell my speaking services as well as online products. I make the least amount of money from fiction ebooks and the most from other products and services (at the moment anyway). Therefore my author platform gives me more than just a sales platform for fiction.

I speak at least once a month and last year spoke at a writer’s retreat in Bali, all from my online presence. I couldn’t do those things if I just had books. So my overall goals involve having a platform to run my online business from. I’m also passionate about sharing what I have learned in order to save you time, money and heartache so I have an inner drive to get the message out there.

What do you enjoy spending time doing?

Writing and being a blogger can be a solitary profession and as much as I love being alone, I also enjoy the community we have online as bloggers and also on Twitter and Facebook. I enjoy connecting on Skype and making my podcast and videos. I love being part of a group and improving my blogging/online marketing skills as well as my writing. So my author platform also serves a personal development and social purpose that goes beyond selling books. Blogging has given me so much joy in the last few years that I would continue doing it if I won the lottery! Writing a novel is a totally different feeling altogether.

What do you think is more effective for author marketing? Writing lots of books or spending time building an author platform? Why do you do what you do?

This is a reprint from Joanna Penn‘s The Creative Penn.

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