Nathan Bransford, a San Francisco agent published a long essay on his blog called: The Myth of “Just an Author”
Bransford offers some insight about the popularity of some famous authors of the past, like Hemingway and Melville. He then goes on to ask, “can an author today expect that they can write in, drop out and leave the publicity to the publisher?” He answers “Probably not,” then goes on to explain what some have called the author’s platform.
Yes folks, the truth today is if you want to be published by a trade publisher you most likely will need your own platform. Publishers today expect authors to do more and even most of the marketing of the books they write.
It’s ironic I suppose, or just plain tragic. Manufacturing books has actually gotten cheaper because of technology. Big trade publishers have been purchased by conglomerates that care for nothing but the bottom line. Good writing more and more goes wanting because the writers don’t have a platform and don’t have much interest in creating one. Publishers only want big names that are easy to market.
All is not lost, however. Self-publishing is becoming more respectable every day. The internet means an author willing to market has a way to do it that won’t break the bank. It can be a long haul, but it’s possible.
Bransford is right. Authors do need to do stuff to promote their books and many are finding they can do it without a publisher. It’s worth thinkin about.
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