It’s necessary for authors to invest time and energy in plugging their books before their books go to market. More exactly, it’s vital for them to: begin vending as soon as their contracts are signed, engage creatively in those efforts, and work to leave a limited, well-defined reserve of prospective readers thunderstruck.

Whereas it used to be the case that authors could hold off on hawking their books until their books were launched or could rely entirely on their publishers to assume those duties, today, authors who want to reap  profits, and who want to sign future contracts must run from the starting gate as soon as is feasible. That moment is currently defined as when a deal with a publisher becomes legit.

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As soon as a publisher has legally committed to an author, that author is well-advised to focus on selling his or her marque, i.e. to focus on advancing his or her persona to possible readers. Savvy, contemporary authors use the interlude between going to contract and having a work launched to seek “readership[s] that will last through many years.”1 Namely, because audiences are more likely to buy from “a friend” than from a stranger, authors need to do their best, during that span, to facilitate would-be readers in becoming acquainted with them. In brief, “familiarity” steers readers toward purchases.


Although past books’ sales aid authors’ visibility, help retain enthusiastic customers, and underscore branding, they do not guarantee fiduciary gains with new products. For each book released, a new campaign needs to be started and needs to be started early. As Jeff Goins says in “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of Launching a Best-Selling Book,” “launching a book is hard [;] you need a lot of time and ton of people.”2 Book sales tolerate no reticence by or dawdling from authors.

More so, the pre-launch period is when authors need to get inventive. They must approach their supposable readers in innovative ways, becoming as adamant in their peddling as public relations firms selling movies or sneakers. That is, it’s as necessary for authors to lean heavily on advertising and to employ tricks as it for publicists for the entertainment and apparel industries to do so. 

Weigh how Alex Herring’s words about pushing movies, as expressed in “Successful Movie Marketing Strategies and Why They Worked,” apply equally to authors, “[t]oday’s marketing campaigns do a lot [to] create content that engages audiences, [build] buzz and [spark] further conversations on social media to create widespread awareness.”3 Authors whom effectively fabricate interest, encourage dialogue, and otherwise craft general consciousness of their forthcoming titles often sell well. Authors who wait for the world to recognize their alleged contributions don’t.

Correspondingly, there is wisdom for authors to glean from persons who attract audiences within the fashion industry. Alex Rakestraw writes in “4 Ways Sneaker Brands Successfully Build Hype,” that “the basic premise (identify figures with followings; get them involved) is perhaps one of the oldest promotional tactic in fashion.”4 It’s of little wonder that catalyzing readers’ rapport with authors has similarly become a go-to strategy for book sales. The process of tweaking human psyches is the same whether people are being shunted toward shoes or novels.

A case in point is that book giveaways, essentially freebies, letting buyers sample the merchandise, work. Cory Doctorow, a prominent speculative fiction author explains, in “Why free eBooks should be part of the plot for authors,” that for authors, the “problem isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity, and free eBooks generate more sales than they displace… the important thing to remember is that a free eBook is … a tool for expanding [authors’] existing publicity and marketing.”5

While authors need to broadcast their commodities before those products are printed and while they need to do so in state-of-the-art ways, it is also the case that authors need to selectively tout their books to select groups of readers rather than to try to make them relevant to all readers. Michael Ellsberg clarifies this point in “The Tim Ferriss Effect: Lessons [f]rom My Successful Book Launch,” “[i]t’s better to be exposed to a comparatively smaller group of people who are engaged, devoted and passionate, than to a much larger group of people who are casual readers.”6

Consider that the Internet is flooded with channels, only a small per cent of which any reader can absorb. Even though many folks shop Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the like, as well as browse Goodreads and other social cataloging websites, those folks are exposed to millions of books at Internet retailers and at Internet book recommendation sites, respectively. Consequently, authors who fail to figure out which groups of readers, per se, are most likely to buy their books and who fail to focus their efforts on courting those readers are authors who will experience limited fulfillment.

Not long ago, writing a book was an artistic endeavor than involved critical thought, the development of ideas, much rewriting, and, finally, making a publishing deal. These days, contrariwise, in many circumstances, an author’s ability to advocate for his or her books has become more central to earnings than is literary prowess.  In the very least, even authors who find it difficult to actualize personal branding ought to: make their books known before their books drop, use a variety of resources to set their books in motion, and focus their efforts on relatively small groups of people who might actually want to read their writing.



1. Rachel Thompson. “How Do You Build an Audience before You Have a Product?” Bad Redhead Media. Aug. 17, 2016. http://badredheadmedia.com/2014/08/how-do-you-build-an-audience-before-you-have-a-product/. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
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2. Jeff Goins. “The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly of Launching a Best-Selling Book.” Goinsauthor.com. n.d. https://goinsauthor.com/book-launch/. Retrieved July 3, 2018.

3. Alex Herring. “Successful Movie Marketing Strategies and Why They Worked.” Pace. Feb 11, 2016. https://www.paceco.com/insights/strategy/successful-movie-marketing-strategies/. Retrieved July 3, 2018.

4. Alex Rakestraw. “4 Ways Sneaker Brands Successfully Build Hype.” High Snobiety. Apr. 26, 2018. https://www.highsnobiety.com/p/sneaker-brands-create-hype/. Retrieved July 3, 2018.

5. Cory Doctorow. “Why free eBooks should be part of the plot for authors” [sic]. The Guardian. Aug. 18, 2009. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2009/aug/18/free-ebooks-cory-doctorow. Retrieved July 3, 2018.

6. Michael Ellsberg. “The Tim Ferriss Effect: Lessons From My Successful Book Launch.” Forbes. Jan. 11, 2012. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelellsberg/2012/01/11/the-tim-ferriss-effect/2/#4d76e1c42769. Retrieved July 3, 2018.

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