I was at a writers' group meeting last night. A number of published writers insisted that even if an agent loves a writer's debut novel and sends it to an editor who also loves it, it will still get shot down in acquisitions by the publisher if the writer doesn't have a sufficient online platform. Is this true? To what extent does a writers' online platform matter to a publisher when deciding whether to acquire a debut novel?
These published writers work for publishing companies do they?
That's how they know what goes on in acquisition meetings?
I thought not.
Writers, published or not, know only what they're told about their own work, or hear from other writers.
Often this information applies to their situation alone; you can't extrapolate from it.
This is one of those cases.
You do not need any platform at all for a novel, particularly for a debut novel.
One thing we know for sure now: Facebook friends, Twitter followers etc does NOT equate to book buyers.
Social media is now established enough that we have data to support, or disprove, theories, about whether online presence sells books.
We know it doesn't.
What we know is that online presence is a great way to connect to readers you already have, or that come to you from book sales.
We still know the best way to get someone to read a book is have it recommended to them. Word of mouth is still the number one way people choose books.
We KNOW THIS.
Your job as a writer is to write a book that people will want to talk about.
And maybe to find a different writing group.