As most authors know by now, there is a continuing debate over the importance and impact of one’s platform on book sales.
In one of the more interesting experiments I’ve seen, author C.S. Lakin (@cslakin) decided to publish a genre novel (in a very particular genre, with a very particular formula) and release it under a pen name, to test whether a first-time author—one ostensibly without any platform—could sell a meaningful number of copies. Read her full post about it.
You can find a diversity of lessons in what Lakin did; one of the key takeaways (for me) relates to the role that genre plays in an author’s success in achieving e-book sales through the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon.
Lakin commented that her purpose wasn’t necessarily to prove platform unimportant, but the headline of the post and the comment thread (of course) point to a great deal of excitement over the early results: this first book by a platform-free author is selling 30-50 copies every day.
In January, I’m teaching a class on platform, which makes me look like a rather biased party on this topic. I’ve been teaching some version of it since 2009, and my ideas have evolved over the years. Some of that evolution can be traced through these posts:
- A Definition of Author Platform
- Should You Focus on Your Writing or Your Platform?
- The Art and Business of Reader Engagement & Author Platform