Skip to content

Author platform and some early failures

Below are four links to articles about author platform that I found helpful.

There. Hopefully they’ll help to you.

I’m certainly not going to tell you how to build an author platform. Because I honestly have no fucking idea.

The whole reason I got a website was because I’d been advised by numerous strangers-on-the-internet-with-large-followings that I needed to start an author platform. That these days you need a following before you put out a book. That it makes things easier.

And maybe it does. When it’s done and the audience is there. But the thought of “building an author platform” fills me with intense dread. As though I’m about to perform my own plastic surgery. Or eat turducken.

I like building things. I like sci-fi/fantasy and furniture from IKEA, largely on the basis of construction. I will talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, about pretty much anything.

But this doesn’t feel like building and it doesn’t feel like talking. It feels self-conscious and self-aggrandizing all at once. I don’t feel qualified to offer “expert opinions” on anything other than writing. And I don’t want to write about writing. Because I don’t have rules that I write by, other than trying my best to write something that doesn’t suck. And since I haven’t really published anything yet, there’s absolutely no reason for you to listen to anything I say.

But I’m a firm believer in learning from mistakes, both my own and those of others. So I’ve decided that this site will exist as both a short story and excerpt centre, and as place for me to communicate to you what I’ve learned from my spectacular failures and modest success. And if you wanted to tell me about some of yours, that would certainly make me feel better.

Okay, story time.

When I was ten, I decided that I wanted to be a writer. I’d been writing since I was six and my dad read me The Hobbit, but it didn’t occur to me that “writer” was something that a person could just choose to be until later. I started writing a high fantasy novel, which I had decided would be part of a trilogy. It featured a large cast of characters, none of whom were less than a decade older than me. I hand wrote it in a big red binder. One day I showed it to my librarian and she explained how quotation marks to me. I don’t know if I’d been sick the day everyone learned quotation marks, or if they don’t teach that shit to ten-year-olds. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, this encounter hammered home for me the importance of editors.

After about one hundred handwritten pages, I lost the binder. I started again, this time on a computer. The computer crashed and, because I was only about eleven at this point, I hadn’t thought to back it up. I started again.

And for another few years, I plugged away at this thing, periodically deleting entire sections, restarting, changing character names and origins and arcs and motivations. I was in high school by the time I realized that the story that I wanted to tell was beyond me, at least at the moment. I hadn’t built the world enough, and I really had no idea what I was talking about. I was a teenager writing about adults, which isn’t a ridiculous proposition by any means but within the realm of my experience it was certainly superficial. I kept at it for another year out of sheer stubbornness, before finally deciding that the story would always be in my head if I wanted to give it another go, but that the time just wasn’t right.

Sometimes a project just isn’t ready, and you need to let things percolate a little.

What about you? Do you share my discomfort over “author platform”? And have there been any projects you’ve had to set aside?

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *