From the comment corner comes:
So Miss Snark drinks the platform Koolaid?
I understand it, but it's sad.
I pitched a project that an agent said was wonderful--walking on water and tripping over only the highest waves--but no go because, although I had the necessary professional credentials to write it, I wasn't also famous. A functionally illiterate but notorious person had a better chance to publish than a great writer.
Hey, don't blame me for this one. I think it stinks. But my job is to support Granny Snark by earning money not conjugate Latin verbs on the subways for your personal entertainment.
To wit, if the editors want platform, Miss Snark is in no position to tell them to fly a kite. Would that she could.
I've been in pitch meetings recently where the amount of speaking fees and the number of speaking engagements in a year were considered polite questions.
I've had phone conversations with editors who ask if a client is tv-genic.
Editors tell ME they are forced into this because of the pr and marketing people. Like string theory it sounds good and seems like an interesting explanation for chaos, but Miss Snark failed Physics and thus doesn't know the answer to the question.
The interesting thing about platform is a lot of people who've got a lot of it, ie professionnal speakers, publish their books on their own so they can keep the lion's share of the proceeds from back of the room sales.
Don't confuse notorious with platform. Martha Stewart has platform cause she has a magazine and a tv show NOT cause she went to the hoosegow.
Ron Hogan has platform to die for with his blog. The number of people who read that every day and see just very casual mentions of his upcoming book make a marketing director squeal. Ron's a good writer too of course, and he didn't start the blog to make himself famous but it was one of the things that made it easier to say yes to him than yes to someone with a Ph.D in stewerdesses.