This is a post about crafting. I’m telling you this now, because it’s going to take us a bit to get around to that, but the journey will be worth it.
Your platform is the system of marketing assets that you’ve accumulated in order to share your work with the reading public. Ideally, by the end of your journeyman period, your platform will consist of at least one longer piece (a book or novel), several shorter pieces (short stories or articles), one stable site (a website) with regularly updated content (a blog), and an active social media presence. Right now these are the basic platform components of a journeyman writer who wants to be a published author.
Any good journeyman writer knows that the quality of that longer piece (the book or novel) is very important to their successful leap to master writer status.
[For those who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about with regards to historical craftsman distinctions, here’s some quick definitions:
- An apprentice is a beginner who studies under (officially or unofficially) a master and, often, a few journeymen to learn a craft.
- A journeyman is a craftsperson who has learned the craft and can produce materials of saleable quality, but isn’t yet experienced enough in the profession to stand alone.
- A master craftsman is someone who has sufficient skill and experience to stand alone and operate his or her own shop.
In contemporary society, we’ve mangled this hierarchy to no end and it no longer exists, for the most part, for writers, but the reality behind the hierarchy persists, because it’s a system of learning the craft and the profession of writing that we all must go through. I, for example, am a professional marketer, but a journeyman writer.]
The purpose of a platform is to create opportunities for exposure—flashing is not required or advisable. What you want is not any form of infamy, but the opportunity for readers to fall in love with your work. This leads them to buy it, repeatedly, often as soon as it’s available, at least if they have the money (which, in this economy, isn’t guaranteed).
Now, think about what this implies about the quality of what your produce?
You put a lot of work drafting, crafting, polishing, editing, revising, and re-polishing your full-length work. At least, you should.
Then, if you’re like most people, you whip off something for your platform that isn’t always thought-out or even polished, let alone crafted.
The second thing is what your not-yet-fan is going to be exposed to first.
Do you see the problem here?
So, please, people, put at least a little craft into your platform, because your platform is what helps you sell your full-length work. It really is worth the investment of time and effort.