There's a word floating around the publishing and recording industries of late—platform. What industry execs want to know before they sign a new artist or author is do they have a platform? Do they have a built-in audience? What most would-be artists and authors miss is the subtle but obvious question really being asked by the big companies -- can you sell your own CD or book without us? Think about the ludicrousness of that for a moment. Because if the answer is yes, then why do you need them?
Books and music will never be the same again thanks to iTunes and Kindles. Technology has over-taken both industries to the point that once-needed go-betweens (i.e. publishers, record labels) are scrambling to figure out their place in this new world of downloads and instantly-accessible libraries. William Young thought he needed a publisher and sent his manuscript, THE SHACK, to several of them. They all turned him away. Undaunted, he self-published his book anyway. At nearly four million copies sold, I'm fairly certain Mr. Young is glad he doesn't have a publisher.
Which brings us back to platform. Can you create your own? You betcha. What are your strengths? If you're a singer, can you also speak? If you're a writer, have you started a blog regarding your book's subject? Think outside the scope of the talents you have and explore ways you can create opportunities to touch people with your message. In our social network universe, the consumer is more accessible than ever and a platform is even more attainable. With a little ingenuity, some guidance from a quality public relations professional and some blood, sweat and tears, you can have a best-seller on Amazon and discover the benefits of owning 100% of your work and reaping 100% of the profit.