Monday, June 30, 2014
Platforms for Support, and Supporting a Platform
Eric here, with a question: Is there any better cliché than starting an article out with a dictionary definition? Like, for example:
Platform: a landing in a flight of stairs.—Dictionary.com
Which is just one of nineteen definitions for that word, none of which really fit the kind of platform I want to talk about today, so that was a total waste of introductory space.
What I'm talking about are marketing and social media and promotional platforms—the scaffolding to stand on when trying to get information out to the world. When it comes to the "author platform" it's an all-encompassing thing, a way of addressing every single method we have to generate buzz, to inform the masses, to really reach out and touch someone, short of buying a white windowless van from which to hand out free candy.
A couple things got me thinking about it. One was this article on Writer Unboxed by author Karin Gillespie called "How I Got Published in the New York Times On My First Try (And What Happened Next)." In it, she spells out how she--an established author with a bunch of books under her belt--couldn't sell her sixth novel and she feared it was a "lack of platform." So she created a new venue for herself: she got published in The New York Times.
Which is great, but it didn't get her a book deal.
The second thing was the fact that Hadley Rille Books—a publisher very, very close to the hearts of all here at Heroines of Fantasy—is looking to expand its own platform. (Everyone has a platform. This blog is just one piece of the foundation holding up the platform of HRB writers like me, Kim, Julia, Terri-Lynne, Karin, and others.) In the case of HRB, finding a "new venue" isn't really in the cards as much as making the most of what we've got. And to do that entails HRB's first foray into crowd-funding, looking to the readers who love our books to help us out.
By supporting the Hadley Rille Books campaign at Indiegogo you can help transform this small labor of love—a one-man operation by founder Eric Reynolds for most of the company's lifetime. The funds will go toward expanding the HRB reach into stores, more marketing for the books you love (or will love when you get to hear about them), and perhaps best of all, finding new authors to publish.
With a lack of celebrity or willingness to get arrested in Shia-LaBeouf-meltdown-style for attention, we're not going to get funded overnight. The authors of HRB and HoF are giving it their all, but certainly could use more help. Not just monetarily, but by expanding the reach of the Indiegogo complain over the next month. Help us with your platform—share the link on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Tumblr. Tell your friends, especially fans of scifi/fantasy at cons and writers groups and critique sessions. Email your mom and dad and grandparents (bookish teenagers too, but they should be at the library). And if you know a celebrity author or two, tell them about it. Everyone starts out with a small platform, but with your help, we can convert that platform into a full-fledged stage.