Book Marketing: Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse


Book marketing in the age of the internet provides numerous opportunities for an aspiring nonfiction book author to have a following before he or she submits a nonfiction book proposal.

The typical advice for someone about to write a nonfiction book proposal is that the person must first have a platform – which basically means a huge following (such as host of a national tv show) or a huge mailing list (perhaps amassed from years of doing business).

The reason for this is that publishers want to know there’s already a built-in fan base of people presumably eager to buy the potential author’s book.

And for someone who doesn’t have this huge following or huge mailing list – it’s too bad but agents and publishers probably won’t be interested in that person’s nonfiction book proposal.

In the past it could take years to “grow” a following. Perhaps, for example, starting off with an advice column in your local newspaper, then working up to an advice column syndicated to a few newspapers, and finally achieving a national syndicated column.

Or you could start off as a talk show host on your local station, work up to a talk show on a few local stations, and finally achieve a national talk show.

The good news is that the internet has changed everything. In fact, the internet has completely eliminated most barriers to entry.

Thus today there’s no reason to put the cart before the horse. Don’t write that nonfiction book proposal until you have established a solid online reputation. Why ask to be rejected when, with some targeted work, you can position yourself as someone to whom agents and publishers should say yes?

If you have an expertise – let’s say you’re a relationship expert with a unique spin – and you want to write a book about your relationship advice, here are some of the internet opportunities you can use to get your own platform BEFORE you write that proposal:

• Start a blog that offers your relationship advice.
• Leave insightful comments with the URL to your blog on other relationship blogs.
• Write guest posts for other people’s blogs.
• Start a BlogTalkRadio show giving your relationship advice and interviewing people who need your advice.
• Join Facebook and start a Facebook group for relationship advice.
• Join Twitter and tweet about your BlogTalkRadio shows.
• Join LinkedIn and start a relationship advice group there.
• Join other social media sites that offer the opportunity for you to demonstrate your unique relationship advice.
• Launch a website that includes testimonials to your advice with an irresistible free offer for people to give you their email addresses (building your list).
• Post brief videos on YouTube and other video sites of you giving relationship advice.
• Make podcasts about relationship advice and have the podcasts downloadable from your website.
• Write reports or e-books about specific areas of relationship advice and distribute these for free or for a fee from your website.
• Offer your reports or e-books to others to use for premiums for their projects.
• Do free or fee question-and-answer teleseminars.
• Write relationship articles and post on free article sites such as
• Write press releases about your teleseminars and post on internet press release sites.

Does this take work? Yes, it does. And will you do all of these? Probably not.

But if you start doing some of these activities as a preamble for writing a nonfiction book proposal, you will be much better positioned to convince a book agent and/or a book publisher that you have the required platform to sell your book.

And the added benefit of doing all this work first? With all the advice you’ve dispensed on the web, your book will almost be totally written thanks to all the material you’ve already produced. –P.Z.M.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a National Internet Business Examiner at as well as a book author, and her power marketing company combines traditional marketing principles and Internet marketing strategies to put power in your hands.

Related Posts
Your Book Marketing Plan – Winning Strategies and Tips
Book Marketing — The Importance of an Open Mind for a Successful Campaign

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