Friday, April 10, 2009

Building a Platform for Fiction

I’ve received a lot of questions about the importance of building a platform for fiction writers. Should you write platform-building pieces under your real name or the pseudonym you want to use? What if you wrote mystery short stories, but now want to write romance novels? Do those short stories even count toward your platform? Do you need to worry about blogging now to build a platform or should you just write?

Holy cow, folks! Just write and write and write and write. If you are someone who writes short stories very well and wants to submit them to literary magazines while working on your novel, go ahead. It’s a bonus to have a writing platform like that, but not every novelist can write short stories and not every short story writer can write a novel. It just isn’t that easy, so if you’re someone who doesn’t feel strongly that you can do both, why are you wasting your time focusing on your weakness instead of your strength or instead of on what you really want to do?

As for blogs, I’ve said it over and over and over again, but I’ll say it again. Go ahead and write a blog if you really want to, but don’t feel that it will necessary do anything for a future publishing career. The only thing that’s going to do that is the book you’re writing or the book after that or the one after that. And frankly, at this point, I don’t care what name you do it all under.

Let’s worry less about the peripherals of publishing—platform, credentials, etc.—and more about our writing. Because that’s really what’s important.