Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What Is MY Platform?

Platform is a big word tossed around in the publishing world these days. It means identifying the target audience you want to reach as an author, then making good use of various social media to foster your cause. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are all seen as avenues for getting you into the public eye. Some agents put a sharp accent on platform, and I feel they reject some authors because they don't have the proper number of YouTube hits, or haven't reached a certain number of Facebook friends.

I can see value in that view, but only from a business standpoint. Some authors keep their social media presence only to the business of who they are, an author seeking publication or one who already has projects to pitch.

I am not like that. I understand the business side, but I don't want to be solely a business entity. I have a heart and soul, somewhat of a sense of humor, a deep commitment to those I embrace within family and friends, and other parts of my life I give priority. Those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook will see plenty on the success of the Oregon Ducks, little comments I trade with old high school friends, some comments with current coworkers, bits shared with family. Those comments have nothing to do with my novels or my business. I like to keep it that way.

I want people ... be it agent, editor or friend ... to know me as a person, not a business entity. I have loves and I'm not afraid to show them. I have biases, especially against negative people or those who love criticism first over understanding. I am a guy who wears my love of the Ducks on my sleeve, quite literally. I am a guy who read the eulogy for Steve Jobs and said, "Yeah, that's it. He found some foundational truths and based his life on them. Hooray for him." (Thanks to my brother Steve for leading me to that eulogy.)

I am a guy with great loves and passions, and a deep appreciation for those who have been close to me through the years. I treasure those for whom I have a great deal of understanding, and they understand me. Some are friends, some are family, one of them is my wife of more than 35 years. Those are the greatest things in my life, and I want people to see that. I am not Author, Inc. I also will let some of what is most important to me spill onto the pages of my novels, but people can guess just how much of my characters is really me. I like that air of mystery. (That last part is a line from my first novel, BTW.)

I am me. I want people to see that. That is MY platform.

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