Monday, May 21, 2012

The Mythical Platform

“You gotta have a Platform” is one piece of marketing advice misapplied to novelists that makes Therese get really angsty and dark. So we’re going to unleash her on this. Hold on for the ride…

Therese says: My marketing career began thirteen years prior to Morgan’s when “Think outside the box” was the newest catch phrase for the engineers and sales team. Every plan and project was paused to apply this “outside the box” concept except nobody knew what the BOX was. So how can we think beyond something that has not been defined?

That catch phrase was to encourage creativity and innovation and worked well for companies like Microsoft and Apple in the early 1990’s, but when applied to a manufacturing company with a specific customer base business as usual was a better approach.

Platform is what you stand on while at a station when you are waiting for the train or bus so you can go somewhere. Platform is the wooden crate built for the delivery of appliances you will use in your home for decades. Platform is solid, supportive, and best made out of wood or concrete. It’s a foundation and for novelists your foundation is what rests on the seat of your desk chair. When fueled with chocolate, your foundation can expand.

A platform, when applied to reaching an audience, is to define - the primary message or agenda. The example is "he/she has a _________ platform" and words used to fill in the blank are: environmental, spiritual, political, social, and more specific concepts like leadership, or marketing-myth-busters. People who have a platform like this are also standing on a box, like a milk crate holding a megaphone, that raises a leader above the crowd to be heard regardless of the value of the message.

For a novelist, your platform is – writer, your audience is - reader. Do you know the dimensions of that box? Are you within the box or standing on it? Do you know the length of the boards, or the number of nails? Are you stirring concrete or chocolate? Do you care?

You should care. Your novelist platform is your PERSONA. This is your mythical and public presence to rise above the crowd and connect with your audience through stories. The foundation of your persona is your themes, your public personality, your story to tell. Tell it with style instead of perched on a box.

1 comment:

  1. I like that..are you within the box or standing on it.
    Some of us are in but peeping out!