10.17.2006

Platform

Dear Miss Snark,

Even though I have tried to educate myself on the publishing industry by reading everything I can get my hands on -- especially your blog since it contains a wealth of information -- I can't seem to get a handle on the term "platform" as it applies to writers.

Obviously I know what a platform is with respect to political candidates (I mean besides a false promise), e.g., a promise not to raise taxes. And I understand the term when a Miss America candidate states that her platform is Type I Diabetes. But when I see "a writer must have a platform in order to be successful," I'm confused. Does it mean: target audience?; a cause (and if that's the case, how does it apply to genre fiction?); does it refer to a viable marketing plan?; or is it none of these.

I would appreciate knowing your definition since I'm tired of feeling so nitwittish about this term.


Platform means you have a way to reach book buyers that doesn't involve "the ususal suspects" like "I'll go on Oprah" or "I'll visit bookstores".

Platform can be a syndicated newspaper column, a speaking career, a blog with a LOT of hits, a career as a movie star, or lots of guest appearances on Oprah. Suze Orman's platform was infomercials; Bob Greene's was Oprah appearances; Harvey Mackay's was a very very succesful speaking career.

Platform is what you bring to the table for sales outlets.

You don't need platform for novels. You need it for almost everything else.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"You don't need platform for novels."

Oh, thank dog, I thought I was screwed.

{sigh}

Chumplet said...

I work for a newspaper, and I intend to take advantage of it if and when my book sells. FREE EDITORIAL! WHEEEE!

Anonymous said...

If you check out the October 17 entries at clooneystudio.com, you will see a novel that appeals to George Clooney fans. Now THAT'S a platform.

acd said...

I think this may be a case where if you don't know what it is, you haven't got it.