We're thrilled to have Sophie Littlefield as today's guest blogger. Welcome to Working Stiffs, Sophie!
Sophie Littlefield’s a recovering housewife from the California suburbs who wrote a whole lot of stories before creating Stella Hardesty, the middle-aged rural renegade heroine of A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, which came out on August 4th. Her young adult novel BANISHED will be released next year from Delacorte - and just between us, there may be a zombie or two in that one.
There's been a lot of talk lately about author platforms and how they're really important, especially in today's crummy publishing climate.
The first time I heard the phrase 'author platform' I had no idea what it meant -- sounded like I was supposed to have an opinion about something - and to be honest, that worried me. Ever since I really buckled down on this whole full-time author gig, I've been content to let other, more-qualified people make the big decisions. Running the country? You have my proxy, Mr. O! How to fix the danged economy? Heck if I know - but I'm cheering for you guys, Mr. Bernanke! Bachelorette? Idol? Next Top Model? Seriously, whatever America decides is cool with me!
(Oddly, most of the time lately my strongest opinions have to do with highly processed food products, as in "fried Cheetos are just a hell of a lot tastier than Puffs" and "the best Diet Coke in town is at the Shell Station on Camino Tassajara" and "anything ordered off the secret menu at In-n-Out tastes seriously better." I think it's a result of malnutrition in these final weeks leading up to my book's release date, when I've been too busy to eat proper. Note that I said "mal"-nourished, not "under"-nourished. We are going through Pop Tarts and Luna bars and Sun Chips at an alarming rate.)
Anyway I was somewhat relieved to find out that an author's platform is really just a way of describing all the folks who have a special reason to be interested in your book.
For instance, if you're a professional hockey player, and you pen a romance between a puck manufacturer and a Zamboni driver, then your platform is hockey fans and players.
If you drive a Budweiser truck on your day job and your mystery series features a beer magnate turned amateur sleuth, your platform is brewskie aficionados everywhere.
If you're an undead high school cheerleader with 800 facebook friends, and you've written - hell, in that case, you could probably write a grocery list and sell it!
This is great news for all those folks with popular hobbies or media jobs or fancy pedigreed pets - they're selling tons of knitting mysteries and newscaster mysteries and bird mysteries these days - but when I took a long hard look at my book, I got kind of worried.
My character, Stella Hardesty, doesn't really have any hobbies - at least, any legal ones. (Oh, that reminds me, a word to the wise - inmate populations aren't really the kind of platform that publishers get super-excited about.) She's middle aged and cranky and broke. She doesn't dress well, her personal grooming's a little hit-or-miss, she spends her days off catching up on laundry and bills, and she doesn't have a boyfriend.
You wouldn't want her life, I'd wager. In fact, your life - if you are anything like me - has a little too much in common with Stella's, a little more often than you might like. Boring job. Financial stress. Love life doldrums. A few extra pounds --
Wait! Oh lordy, I just had the most brilliant thought. My platform is. . .me. You. Us. All of us ordinary hardworking Janes, just trying to get through the day with a sense of humor and a handful of Oreos. Our kids drive us nuts. Our Spanx get a workout. Our minds wander to the hot waiter at the falafel joint when we're supposed to be doing our taxes.
Right? Am I right? This might be the biggest platform of all time, sisters! The come-as-you-are, get-a-beer-from-the-fridge, take-a-load-off platform. Don't know if it will sell books. But it does surely feel like good company!
Watch the trailer for A Bad Day For Sorry: