Author platform. Do you really have one?

Looking for likely small publishers (as you do), I came across one accepting the kind of stuff I write, read a little further into their submission guidelines, and was stopped short. In addition to the usual things to send, like the query letter, synopsis and first three chapters, they also wanted an outline of my author platform. To find out what they’re looking for, the prospective customer is directed here:

http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/build-a-platform-start-blogging/building-a-writers-platform

If you thought you had one, I bet that took the wind out of your sales! And the publisher who insists that you know a dozen or so high-profile TV celebrities before you even submit your ms has bugger all in sales. I wouldn’t have submitted to them because of their utter lack of marketing clout. On the other hand, they wouldn’t want some piddling little amateur like me anyway.

As I’ve said on previous occasions, I’m just going to keep writing. All that other garbage is for people who don’t write. Obviously. Where would they find the time?

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

21 thoughts on “Author platform. Do you really have one?”

  1. Unless you’re a celebrity, most people out there arent interested anyway. I dont see how you’d ever have time to write a book if you did all that. You’d be spreading yourself thin if you tried. Everyone’s trying to do all that stuff, it only brings success to relatively few. Keep on doing what you’re doing, you write great books! And poetry!

    1. The idea that if you already has a blockbuster success, knew dozens of celebrities who could promote your book, and had thousands of social media groupies you’d be bothering with a tin pot publisher who couldn’t promote a piss up in a brewery!

  2. If I have a large enough author platform, why do I need a small publisher? What can they do for me that I can’t do for myself? I’m serious here. Unless they have a solid distribution system in place to get my book into brick and mortar book stores and they can provide marketing beyond what I can do for myself, then there is no reason to enter into such an arrangement.

    1. That’s what made my jaw drop. This is a publisher nobody’s heard of, whose sales are somewhere on the outer satellites of Neptune, and they have the gall to suggest you get all this circus together before you submit to them! I mean, Harper Collins don’t ask that you personally know Barack Obama before submitting, and they actually manage to sell books.

  3. I agree with the comments here. It sounds like this publisher wants the author to do all the work, and then hand over the majority of the proceeds. I understand a publisher wanting to make sure the author has some social media presence or at least a willingness to promote. But how many people know a dozen high profile celebrities? Those who do are probably looking for an agent and large publishing deal.

    1. For a few (and I include those who sell books about how to be a successful writer) it’s very lucrative. For most it’s a long hard haul into oblivion. Thank goodness we enjoy it!

    1. Well, exactly. If I was so well connected and already had massive book sales I’d be expecting at least a very good deal from Harper Collins and a six figure advance, not some piddling little publisher nobody’s ever heard of.

  4. That’s so disappointing. Their values are all backward, in my opinion. What’s worse, they are in total support of our crumbling modern understanding of culture which is still sleep walking its way through our society. So I say, keep writing! Your words are your light and they will shine brightly because you do.

    1. I shall do! It is dispiriting that not only is a writer expected to be some kind of artist and live on a creative plane of existence, but she’s supposed to deal with all this mercantile travelling circus kind of stuff too. I was under the impression that the marketing strategy was how the publisher earned his cut of the royalties.

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