Though - really - if you don't know these before the fact, you have not been doing your homework.
And, I gotta say - I really do - that I think that having a "platform" is a bag o' bullfritters. Platform and publicity is the job of a publisher. And, platforms are a dime a dozen on the internet.
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Six Things I Learned About Publishing a Book That Very Few Books Will Tell You
by Nataly Kelly
Landing a book contract with a major publisher, Penguin, was a dream come true, and I thought I knew what awaited me. Prior to that wonderful day, I spent many years acquiring knowledge about the publishing process, mostly by reading books, articles, and blogs. Even so, there were quite a few things that I learned along the way. Here are some of the ones that surprised me the most:
1. Yes, you can get a book deal via social media. After many years of pitching book concepts through a literary agent to no avail, I ended the relationship and decided to try my own luck. I searched for editors at publishing houses on LinkedIn and sent a pitch to an editor using an InMail. Because the number of characters is limited, I had to convey the entire book concept in just a few concise paragraphs. To my amazement, a social media-savvy editor, Marian Lizzi at Perigee (an imprint of Penguin USA), responded and requested more details. So there you have it -- an InMail that eventually led to a book deal.