March 30, 2015

Building a Platform: Meet The Haunting of Sunshine Girl

In last week’s New York Times is an article about a YouTube series starring a teenage girl convinced her house is haunted. The Web series has been running for four years and has over 650 episodes, mostly roughly two minutes in length. The premise is that Sunshine Girl and her mother have just moved into a house they believe is haunted. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl (aka, Paige McKenzie), has had over 160 million views and currently has over 250 thousand YouTube subscribers.
The series has been so popular they have just released a new book of the same title, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl.
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl is a good lesson for authors wanting to be published in that before there was ever a book, or even a thought of a book, first the author built her audience (also called a platform by publishers). Oftentimes at Principia we are asked by prospective authors how we intend on selling their book. It is as if by merely placing books on bookstore shelves the book will automatically sell. Nothing could be further from the truth. Demand for a book is built prior to a customer ever entering a bookstore or going to an online bookseller. With roughly ten million books in print, the chances of someone’s book selling just because it exists is akin to finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. It virtually never happens.
Authors with Principia are continually coached in establishing their own following through speaking engagements, being an active part of a well-connected network, doing readings, joining reading groups, etc. Point being that for a book to be discovered it first needs to be championed in some way by others. Nowadays with all the new opportunities for authors, one can be truly inventive in establishing a following, much like with The Haunting of Sunshine Girl which was the brainchild of a creative young lady in Vancouver, WA with the help of a supportive family and a newly minted film producer.
If you would like to discuss your own book idea, please fill in our Let’s Talk About Your Book form.
Dirk Wierenga, Director of Publishing, Principia Media

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