What Comes First, the Platform or the Book?

Should anyone who wants to write a book already have a published collection of, say, short stories or essays?  It’s like learning to walk before you can run, and it’s a question Edward Nawotka proposes in this brief editorial.  As someone who’s still trying to get his first novel published – without having so much as a short story in print – this piqued my curiosity.  Some people are fortunate in that they write a book that catches a publisher’s fancy, which in turn, catches the public’s attention and launches a successful career.  Others write a book based on a lifetime of personal adventures; pulling together years of true experiences in teaching, law enforcement, or whatever.  But, Nawotka asks if someone can write a book and then “develop a platform to go along with it.”  Is it too conceited for someone to conjure up a magnificent tale and then seek an audience for it?  It’s an interesting hypothesis, and I know a lot of people are that confident in themselves to do it.  But, it seems to go against one of the first tenets of writing: know your audience and target your work for them.  It’s also akin to composing an outline, or synopsis, before actually writing.  I’ve never done an outline, except for high school and college essays.  But, I’ve found synopses work well for me.  I can understand the urge of some writers just to get something down.  Often, I have strange ideas and visions germinate in my brain, ultimately forcing me to put them down into a tangible form without concern for any prospective audience.  But, that’s just how I am.  We writers are a curious lot anyway; often very introverted and introspective.  No single formula for getting our stories out works for everybody.

1 Comment

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One response to “What Comes First, the Platform or the Book?

  1. RG

    Have you ever considered bypassing publishers altogether and selling your book(s) via your website directly? What’s to lose?

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