Recently I created a survey to help more writers market their books. In exchange, I offered free marketing lessons. I asked one mandatory question in exchange for the lessons, and had one optional fill-in-the-box spot in case anyone had a question.
I've spent the past five or six years not only educating authors about how to build an author platform, but about how to position themselves in such a way that the platform they already have truly shines.
In traditional publishing, failing means not earning out your advance. In self-publishing, failing could be taken to mean not earning back your expenses. But the question then needs to be: over what period of time?
No one is more motivated to communicate the value of your book more than you, the author. Why should you consider building an author platform now? Because it takes time to develop meaningful relationships and trust with others.