Steven Savage, my cohort-in-creativity over at Fan To Pro, was interviewed for a piece called "The Importance of Platform" where he and the interviewer both talk about, well, the importance of having a platform. Meaning how useful it is to have a central point, a launching pad, for all that you do — a way to brand yourself.
I'm no fan of the way Marketspeak and Salestalk have crept into (shilling for corroded) the language of daily life. I rather resent the idea of thinking of myself as a product. But I also know, all too well, that I live in a society where marketing, sales, the trappings of corporate capitalism are more or less unavoidable. If you don't do this stuff for yourself, someone's just going to come along and do it for you — and chances are they're not going to do it in a way that complements your real needs. When people say things like "Only you know what's best for you", they scarcely mean you have omniscience others can only dream of; they mean only you stand half a chance of discovering what those things are and ginning them up.
So: marketing, platforms, all the rest. What it amounts to is a kind of late-capitalist version of Know Thyself. Time isn't just money; attention is money, and if you can't get people's attention in a succinct way, you're always going to be cycling back to the end of the line.
If it all comes down to nothing more than a sales pitch, that's not the worst thing in the world. Working my little table piled high with my own books at various conventions crash-coursed me in all the ways to snag people as they walked by without seeming pushy or desperate. When I stuck a sign on one of my books that read "MIYAZAKI MEETS NEIL GAIMAN", I felt mildly annoyed with myself for using such a blatant bid for attention; it was like something a marketer would dream up, I groaned. Then I realized I was that marketer, and when people started paying attention because of that blurb (and not because Miyazaki or Gaiman, two folks whose work I respect greatly, had anything to do with the product), I saw how the art of getting peoples' attention didn't have to be inherently despicable.
That didn't stop me from trying to come up with a better tagline, though. As well it shouldn't.