A platform for a non-fiction title makes sense, but is there such a thing as a platform for a novel?
Yes, although it's sometimes harder to define. A platform is a topic or area of expertise that is used to market your book. Instead of just saying, "Go buy my book because it doesn't stink," you can talk about a topic of interest to everyone (or lots of people) that is dealt with in your book. It gives you a toe in the door to radio and TV interviews, newspaper coverage, school visits, and other public appearances that simply hawking your books for sale doesn't allow.
A few examples off the top of my head:
- Josi Kilpack established a platform for her book, Sheep's Clothing, researching and discussing how to keep your children safe from online predators. This was something she could talk about that would hook people into reading her book. It was a way to get media interest. When she was on Good Things Utah, most of the interview was spent on safety issues, and then, "oh by the way, I've written a book that deals with this topic..." Josi is doing the same thing with her upcoming book, Her Good Name, with a platform on stolen identities.
- Julie Coulter Bellon's new book, All's Fair, is set in Iraq. Her platform is supporting our troops. She's promoting a charity drive to send care packages to our military men and women.
- J. Scott Savage's Farworld: Water Keep, has the platform of finding the magic within yourself. Another could be overcoming disabilities. Either of these platforms will get him speaking engagements in schools and youth organizations.
Many other LDS books have good solid platforms. If you're an author, please feel free to post info about your book and your platform in the comments section.