Monday, February 6, 2012

YOU Are Your Platform, Or, How Your Books Hitchhike On Your Own Back

At the last couple of writing conferences I've attended, I've gotten some good ideas about marketing. One of the common tips these days from marketing professionals is that if you write fiction, then YOU are the platform.

I sat at the conferences, and kind of got it. A marketing professional stood up and talked about how her client, an illustrator, had been a puppeteer previously in his career. How she used this fact about him to market him, and then his books. That I could understand. 

But what about me? I am no puppeteer. 

How would I use ME as a platform?

Recently, I was talking with a good friend about books she was purchasing for a project. She told me how she bought two books on amazon, solely because the authors had uploaded clips of themselves talking about what inspired them to write their books.

My friend BOUGHT two HARDCOPY books, because after seeing and hearing the authors talk about their passions for their books, SHE COULDN'T RESIST. 

She would not have bought these books based on description alone. Although the books are described well.

That is making YOU the platform.

Now I get it. :)

I'm reading one of those two books now, and it is excellent. 

It's called THE RUNNING DREAM. A heart-achingly spot-on YA novel about loss and hope.

I dare you to NOT want to read this book!

(And I recommend it; it is WONDERFUL.)

My hope is that all you authors out there, put together a video showcasing how lovely and wonderful you are. Let you books hitchhike* on your back! 

(*I saw an actual hitchhiker today. I haven't seen one in years. My only thought was, 'why does that fool WANT to get arrested?' In my younger days I used to consider picking people up. And wonder what made them hitchhike. I think I'm jaded. Or something.)


Row80 Update: *waving to all my fellow rowers*: 

I am fired up to make more headway this week. Last week was a stellar week for wordcount. I want to keep up with that momentum. 

However, I need to take my weekends off--since I'm not finding time to write then anyway. (What with basketball, and kids' friends, and swimming meets, and church stuff.) So, I'm changing my goals to 1K or 2 hours a day, excluding weekends. 

I'm excited to get this novel to the next level!


What goals do you have this week?

#WantedPosterContest update:

Check out these awesome Wanted Posters:


Didn't they do an awesome job? Here's the link to the Contest Page: there are book PRIZES!


  1. I really enjoyed your post. What you are describing is important but I know for me at times to do. I actually created my blog for that least part of it. I wanted to share my experience especially for other's that may also be new and to also gain a 'following' interest in my story. Granted it will not be published (self or by a publisher) until many years from now. At that point my name may be long forgotten, but in the end I write in blog, talk about my story for myself..people get interested...even better!
    Good luck on your ROW80 Week!!

  2. That makes a lot of sense to me. I like the idea that our passions will sell our books. Very nice. Also, so glad about your word count!

  3. Heather, I love author videos and the wanted posters are a great idea, too. Good luck on your goals this week. Taking the weekends off to spend with your family is awesome. :)

  4. I wonder though, can't a story be salable and amazing without the author being directly involved with the reader? If I am considering a photograph or painting for the wall, I do not hope the artist speaks to me before I make my choice.

  5. I had never even thought of author videos as a form of promotion but I love the idea! And it's something a bit extra that I have the facilities to do... that is, once I'm actually at the promotion stage, which isn't going to be for a while.

  6. @natasha--I agree--getting online and getting our name and our story out is an important step.

    @Tina--Thanks! I have to find a time when you and I can reconnect. :)

    @Sheila--I love author videos too. I love to find out more about where people get their ideas, and how they write. Thanks for stopping by!

    @Jon--I agree, a story should stand on its own merit. But I think that now, when people have so much to choose from, some of it free, we have to add as many of the right little touches as possible. Online books we many times buy sight unseen--unlike the art in front of us in a photograph or painting.

    And, I think of loyalty--the more I know about an author, the more loyal I am. I will even buy books which I am lukewarm about, simply because I know and like an author. That is what I think marketing is about--trying to create a connection and a loyalty. Not a fake connection and loyalty. A real one.

    When my kids meet an author, they are loyal for life. I think that is what these author videos enable. People to meet the author who wouldn't be able to meet them IRL. Wow. Sorry for ranting. It's a good thing you know me IRL (kinda).

  7. @spaciireth--I agree--it's very doable marketing, I think! I'm not going to be there for a bit either. But It's fun to look forward toward that stage! Thanks for stopping by.

  8. This past weekend, I read CRANK by Ellen Hopkins. Next to her acknowledgments, she states that the following story is based on that of her daughters. Ellen says she tried to see things through her daughter's POV when writing the story. That inset set up an even more dramatic reading of an already dramatic story. I'll admit, I greatly approved of her inset, so why would I disapprove of the video idea?

    I need to reflect more on this, but I still hold my opinion that an author's involvement beyond the print is risky. I'd hate to break the author-reader contract.

  9. I've read quite a bit on developing a writer's platform. It seems that the basic idea is that you develop your public image of an expert in a certain area and build up an audience interested in the topics you discuss on your blog. It's very much like developing a brand name.

  10. Congrats, Heather! What a great feeling, huh? Yes, you've been working hard at it. I'm so glad you're on a roll and making headway. Not only that, I find your post inspiring! Cheers!