What The Hell's An Author's Platform, Anyway?

This post, by Jeff Bennington, originally appeared on The Writing Bomb on 11/14/11.

If you’re a writer, I’m sure you’ve scratched your head and asked, "What the hell’s a platform anyway?" If so, you’re not alone. The question comes with the territory.

You send out your query letters, hoping that a website and writer’s group is enough to qualify for the ever coveted platform…whatever.

I struggled with the idea of a platform for the longest time. And honestly, it sort of pissed me off that as a newer author I was expected to have a platform. Really? I just finished writing a novel. Isn’t that a good enough platform for ya? Huh?

Hell,  I don’t know anyone in my circle of family and friends who’ve written a novel. That’s a pretty big deal don’t you think? And now you expect me to have an audience of hundreds, and even thousands. Get a life. 

That was then…this is now (9 months later).

I have sincerely swallowed those words several times over.

In the course of my writing journey I’ve learned that your platform is absolutely critical to a writer with long term writing objectives. So how do you get on? Where do you you find it? Can you buy it? Rent it?

No. You have to build.

A platform is simply the way you reach out to your readers. Like many authors, I learned that by default, or as we say in the trade, by screwing up a lot!

Over the course of the last nine months, yes I said nine months. You heard right. I did not have a platform  nine months ago.
I had a book, a few family members and some friends who were sure to read it, but like many of you, I was starting from scratch…as in peel off the skin, muscle, and veins and  that’s where you’d find me, scratching the bare bones of my audience.

While looking up from that vantage point, I learned that every writer seemed to be doing his or her own thing. A platform, from my perspective, appeared to be vague and unattainable unless I had the readers first. This platform thingy was really confusing. I had no idea from whence would my readers come?

Ahhh, that’s the trick. But wait. Building your platform really isn’t a trick. It’s work.


Read the rest of the post on The Writing Bomb.

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