So I guess I’m someone who’s a bit old fashioned when it comes to writing a book. I don’t have a television, and I don’t really keep up to date with current events, which is something I’m working on. It has always seemed to me that to get a book published, you simply write the thing, and then start contacting agents and from there something magical will happen and bam! You’re published.
Well, that’s not quite true. Since I’ve become serious about getting my own book finished and (hopefully) published this year, I’ve been doing a lot of research and investigation into current trends in the publishing industry. This sort of thing may be old news to most people, but some of the things I’ve learnt have come as quite a surprise to me. For example, establishing what’s known as a “platform” before you ever even start sending your book to potential agents.
A platform is essentially a marketing strategy to increase your audience and have a ready fan base who is eager to buy your book the day it hits the shelves. For a first time author, this isn’t easy to accomplish. It includes things like hiring a professional publicist, relating your book to things currently going on in the national news, creating a specific website dedicated to your book, finding places or people who will recommend your book and get you some attention in the media, all the way down to blogs. Which is what got me started on writing here.
My book is based in a science fiction world of my own creation, and takes place in a time and setting that I have tried to make as rich, imaginative, and unique as possible. Because of the niche market that science fiction exists in, I’m hoping that taking advantage of some of the many tools suggested by websites and other authors will help get me off the ground. It’s a little daunting to consider that all the hours and effort I will and already have poured into getting this book published may, in the end, amount to nothing more than a stack of rejection letters and suggestions for better luck the next time round.
This article: http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/2008/06/07/build-your-author-platform-10-tips-from-a-pro/ offers some really helpful information on how to get yourself started creating a platform. Some of it, such as hiring a publicist or giving speeches in local venues I’m not quite ready for. My book is still in the writing stage, and honestly quite far from being completed. I just ticked over on the 40,000 word mark, which seems like a lot. And it is! But most science fiction novels are anywhere from 90,000 to 150,000 words. And at the rate I’m going, mine’s probably going to be closer to the latter.
However, that’s all part of the fun, and now that I’ve started the process to get this book written and published this year, I’m a little relieved to find all the support that exists out there for burgeoning authors like myself. Expect to see more updates like this, as I’ll probably be doing a lot of website hunting and trying to see what exactly I can do to start building a community around what I honestly think will be an excellent book.