I've never been very good at taking my own advice. Truth is, I've never been very good at taking anybody else's advice either, so I'm an equal opportunity donkey. But as I started roughing out some material today about researching the market before writing a book or building a website, I ran into a snag. I knew that the audience for a book taking the long view of building an author platform would be limited, because most publishing related books are sold to authors who have a finished manuscript and just want to get it published. When I got around to looking over the Internet landscape for the theme of "author platform", I found that it was pretty desolate. So my inclination is to finally take my own advice and start repositioning the work.
The majority of what I've written so far amounts to an argument for why authors should get started publishing online long before they finish writing a book. It's a subject I've written about many times before, but somehow, all the recent questions I'd heard about getting a website up and running made it seem new again. What the approach needs isn't a new set of articles or a book preaching the same gospel, it needs new packaging.
I don't quite have the heart to pull the plug on finishing up a draft more or less as I had planned, at least in terms of the points I'm going to hit, but I'm not going to think about bringing out a book unless I can figure out how a better way to position it. I want to reach those unpublished authors with vision and the limited number of publishers who are focused on building their sales and an Internet publishing asset at the same time. Maybe that's the approach I should really be taking, a new look at Internet publishing as a business model.
I'm also aware that the majority of this material, the vast majority, is just as applicable to building a website that isn't intended as an author platform. I keep giving author oriented examples, but the real audience is probably entrepreneurs who can write. I don't mean that the approach isn't perfectly suited for unpublished authors, but that the only ones who will have the gumption to take it are entrepreneurs who happen to be authors as well. I suppose that's just another definition of entrepreneur: a person who starts their own business when they want to get something done, like getting a book published. The entrepreneur develops the idea until the commercial value is obvious to all, and then decides whether to go it alone or to sell. The entrepreneurial writer can choose to self publish or sell the work to a trade publisher. But how to fit all that in a book title?