How Can Late Life Writers Create An Author Platform?

How do writers in general, but particularly late-life writers, establish an author platform? By “late life” I mean writers over sixty. By “author platform” I mean a soapbox that is slightly elevated above the crowd and that allows authors to shout to passersby that our books exist. That doesn’t mean the crowd will necessarily buy the book. But readers will certainly not buy a book if they don’t even know about it.

The instant a book is published, it becomes a product. Authors must shift gears. The book no longer represents the author’s hopes and dreams for a life of the mind. The book, with its bar code and ISBN number, has morphed into a bar of soap. We must sell the yellow bar of Dial or the smooth and creamy Dove.

How Did We Go From Being Authors to Becoming Soap-Sellers?

My journey is typical of many men and women who’ve had other careers, raised children, and finally found time in their fifties, sixties, and seventies to finish a book. In my long-ago youth, I was a carpenter, remodeling contractor, and building magazine editor. I fit the writing in whenever I could. But, when my last kid graduated from college, my husband I scaled back our expenses, and I did what I’d always wanted to do. I returned to the creative endeavors that fed my soul.

As I had done with everything else in my life, I threw myself into this second career. I applied for fellowships, attended writing conferences, pitched agents, sent queries, had agents ask for partials, had agents ask for complete manuscripts, did rewrites, combed through Publishers’ Marketplace looking for agents of debut novels, won literary prizes and Arts Council awards, did residencies, queried university presses, sent manuscripts, and rode the roller coaster of elation and disappointment. Meanwhile, a revolution was taking place in the publishing industry.

...To read the rest of this article, including links to resources I've used to help me get up to create an author platform, please go to my blog at

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