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Why You Need to Market your Book Before it’s Published

So, I thought it was high time I did another Monday Marketing post!

Now, no matter how much I say it, I’m still seeing new writers who claim they “don’t need to market” or that they will “Market after publishing.”

I get it, no one really likes marketing.  I’ve worked in Marketing Departments, and it can be uncomfortable and frustrating and since most writers are introverts and struggle to often talk about their work, pushing it a little can seem an impossible task.

But it’s not and it is important…and it really needs to be done before you publish.

So, I thought I’d share with you 7 reasons when you need to market your book before it’s published! 

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Get your Foot in the Door

If you are a new writer chances are people won’t know you.  Yes, you may have told some people you’re a writer but the vast majority of potential readers won’t know you from Adam.

So why should they give a hoot you’ve written a book?  seriously?

You need to let them know about the book, tease them with pieces from it, introduce them to your characters so they are interested to learn more.

Don’t expect that just WRITING the book is enough.  You need to go out there and let them know about WHY they will want to read your book.

By getting them excited before it’s even written, can give you an opportunity to build up pre-orders.  Guaranteed sales before it’s even released.

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A Drop in the Ocean

Writers keep telling me that the book will “sell itself”.  Well, no it won’t unless it’s a magic book that’s out there hawking itself for you.

“If you write it, they will come” doesn’t work unless you’re already famous and everyone is desperate for your next book.

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If you publish your book then wait for it to be found, you might be waiting a while.  According to Bowker’s annual report on the sale of ISBN numbers, in 2017 self-published books hit the 1 million mark.

That’s JUST self-published and the number just keeps getting higher.  So how exactly is that book of yours meant to sell itself in the midst of over a million others?

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Claim your Name

By thinking about the marketing early, you can make sure you get your name on all the relevant social media accounts and sort your domain name early.

The last thing you want to do is publish your book and then try to set up your social media accounts and find your name is already taken.  Having JoeeBlogs12345 is not really professional looking when it comes to your Instagram or Facebook handle.

Make sure you decide on your Pen Name (or if you are going to use your real name) as soon as possible and then get yourself sorted on social media and DEFINITELY buy your domain name.

Even if you don’t use it, buy it.  That way no one else can own it and when you decide to make your website you already have a professional domain name.

Not to mention, if you have all these things BEFORE you publish, you can put them at the back of your ebook so that your readers can find and connect with you.  If you get them AFTER you publish you will have missed out on capturing more readers with your links.

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You’ll have LESS Time Later

People seem to think that once the book is published, the hard part is done.  Not really,  marketing starts BEFORE the book is finished and continues well after it’s published.

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Not to mention, you will more than likely be wanting to write another book, so you’ll have to find time for that and if you work a normal job, then you have that to do as well.

The truth is, you’ll be pretty busy when you’re published and the last thing you want to do is have to start looking into marketing ideas and trying things out.  So get ramped up before you’re published.

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Learn from your Mistakes

By marketing early you will have time to figure out what tactics work and what don’t, allowing you to amend your strategy accordingly.

It will also allow you to work over a longer period of time, which means better use of your money and more time to research ideas.  Rather than waiting until after launch date and trying to cram everything in.

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Give Yourself Time

Strong marketing tactics are ones need time to implement them.  For example, guest posting on blogs and websites is a great way to gain exposure.

But to do that you need to find places that accept guest posters, check out their requirements, write an article or answer questions, fit into their schedule…

It’s not always something that can be rushed.  By having time before your launch to plan your strategy and know your timeline, you can make sure you have enough opportunities lined up ready (especially if something falls through at the last minute).

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Greatest Chance of Success

In the end, you want to do whatever you can to help boost your writing career.  So take the time to plan, organise and implement a marketing strategy as early as possible.

Give yourself the BEST chance of success.

Give yourself the time to get familiar with how things work, with building your confidence so you can talk about your work, to create beautiful marketing images and connect with other people who can help you.

Not sure where to start?  Check out my Monday Marketing posts for inspiration.

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Happy writing

Signature & logo of Ari Meghlen

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22 comments

  1. Great post Ari. I realize marketing is an evil all authors must endure, but how did it get such a bad reputation. I personally would rather have a root canal than flog my book. Plus is this advice for all books or just self-published ones? Plus I don’t recall ever hearing about Hemingway, Salinger, or Vonnegut having to market their own books.

    1. lol I think the idea of marketing being bad is the spammy “wanna buy my book” feeling we all get. Especially as writers, by their nature, are often introverts so the idea that we have to toot our own horns about something we created is soul-crushing.

      It’s for all books. A lot of writers believe going traditionally published will mean they don’t have to market. When actually, the publishers expect writers to drive the marketing and have a site, social media, followers etc.

      A trad publisher will assist, throw a (little) money towards it and do (some) marketing but not what people expect. They can’t through money and resources as new authors. But they will work with their authors to help build a plan and make sure they are working the strategy together and not duplicating work.

    1. Thanks for reading, glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, I think making the decision to market early makes a big difference. So glad to hear it helped you with your memoirs too 🙂

  2. This post has inspired me to get an instagram to claim my handle if nothing else. I will strongly consider the domain name – is that apnd time purchase, or a subscription?

      1. Domain names usually come in 2 year packages. Mine costs me around £12 for the 2 years. If you then want to connect it to your website, you need to have a Premium account with WordPress that let’s you connect the two.

        Though just having the domain name ready is a good idea and it’s pretty cheap.

  3. Hi Ari,

    I began the process of almost complete recovery from thirty years of depression and anxiety five years ago and decided it was time to finally get my epic western novel into the open, despite having been horrendously embarrassed by the subject matter.

    Alias Jeannie Delaney is the life story of a devastating, pants-wearing, cheroot-smoking cowgirl who’s the fastest gun in the west and bisexual. She’s an outlaw leader, jailbird, deputy sheriff, rancher and mayor, and the premise of the story is her struggle for acceptance.

    It’s a beginning, muddle and I have written ‘The End’ at the end. Writing the story kept me sane throughout early parenthood and depression. It’s taken years for me to allow husband to read it because of my ridiculous embarrassment, but I’ve been told it was way ahead of its time back in the early days of writing it, and now I’m working on the slow process of editing with the brilliant help of my husband, who is an excellent critic.

    I’m growing in confidence, and helping run a writing group is even better, although I still find it almost impossible to read passages out loud. We’ve grown as a group, we know each other well and they’re so encouraging, so the time might come soon when I can read chapters out loud.

    Initially I felt that advertising myself and my novel-in-progress would be a little premature. Alternatively a post from one of the writing blogs I’m subscribed to suggested that that is an incorrect assumption. The opinion is that I should put my novel ‘out there’ even before it’s finished and capture people’s interest. And now your post has arrived and told me I should do the same. Well I’ll be…! Thank you Ari. 😊

    Jo, Hampshire UK

    Artist/writer/explorer/wild west & ghost nut/renaissance soul/mental health & lifestyle blogger.

    1. Hi Jo, thanks for reading. I’m glad to hear you have moved towards recovery for depression and anxiety, they are crippling conditions. It sounds like you’ve made tremendous strides and you should be proud of that. It doesn’t matter that you can’t read passages aloud (I can’t do that either 🙂 ) However, we should always take pride in all our victories no matter how big or small.

      Yes, I’m a big advocate of early Marketing. If you go to my Tutorials page in the menu of this blog, you will find a number of articles under the Marketing section. I like to give as many ideas for marketing that can help writers, with ideas for what to do before the book is published.

      Good luck.

  4. The only thing is that if I post about something more than a couple of times, then I subconsciously feel like I’m bothering people, which would make it more difficult. That’s just kinda the way I am as a person 😦

    1. It all depends on what your posting. If it’s all about buying then that’s bad. But ppl want to know about writers works so using teaser images, character pictures, aesthetics, blog posts about locations featured in your work are all ways to Market yourself without the sense of bothering ppl.

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