SheWrite’s posted quite a good article about developing the ‘author’s platform’, and it’s certainly well worth a read. I agree with Brooke Warner completely when she states that good/strong writing is the biggest reason an author is published.
However, I do disagree with a small part of her argument. Early in her article she states:
So this week, when I received multiple e-mails asking what I thought about an article on Creative Nonfiction called “Platforms Are ‘Overrated,” my response was that I was bummed out about it because the author, in equating platform to social media, is so incredibly limited in her scope and understanding of what platform actually is, and she’s promoting a defeatist attitude around the importance of building one.
My small issue with this comment is that it is tied up in semantics. For many people, the word ‘platform’ is a piece of kit that allows you to digitally interact with the public: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, SnapChat, etc. She is correct in saying that an author cannot put all of their hopes on social media, but denouncing the importance of ‘platform’ is problematic, simply because the term means different things to different people.
So my advice is two-fold.
First, don’t ignore your writing to build a digital platform/identity/presence/brand, because without a strong voice and good writing it’s difficult to become published. (I’ve written about this previously here.)
Second, if you do hire a consultant to help you build a platform/identity/presence/brand have a discussion about terminology. Make sure that you understand exactly what he/she is building you.