Should Authors Have a Following Before Publishing?
General answer: If you have an audience of proven buyers, then that will help you get published. If you have little or no audience, that will slow down the process. If you have a huge audience that doesn’t already buy from you, then that is a toss up and probably a problem.
“Platform” is now a consideration for publishers just as good writing is a consideration. It’s a new world and authors are as much of the sales conversation/process as anything else.
We see works all the time from authors who have a good idea for a book but they have no audience-engagement and don’t intend to engage. That’s a hard “no” then from most of us as publishers. We can’t pour thousands of dollars into an author who refuses to be a modern, engaged, accessible, and active part of the publishing/marketing process. Welcome to the new world.