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Invisibility Doesn’t Sell

The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. ~ Seth Godin

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There are some in the writing industry that have done more than make it work. They have thrived. When they come up with recommendations, we should pay attention.

I recently read a guest post by Seth Godin. Seth is one such man. He knows how to write and he knows how to market. We should sit up and listen.

Granted, just because something worked for him doesn’t guarantee that it will work for you or me, but we would be wise to study the model. 

Let’s repeat the model: “The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out.”

I can hear it now. — Three years? You have got to be kidding? Three years is a long time. Three years can feel like an eternity. And how do your promote what you haven’t even written yet? How do you even know you’ll be publishing a book three years from now? — I hear you, because you’re echoing my thoughts.

But it’s good to take your own advice. So I sat back, read on, and listened to what Seth was honing in on. The full quote is as follows:

The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build the connections you’ll need later. ~ Seth Godin

It’s not necessarily about promoting just that one book.

It’s about building connections.

It’s about building a platform.

It’s about building credibility. 

Gone are the days when one can hide behind a pen name and still sell books. Invisibility doesn’t sell. Promotion without credibility doesn’t sell either. 

Anyone can tweet a promotion. Anyone can promote on Facebook. It takes but seconds to do either. 

What takes time is building relationships, trust, and credibility. 

Remember: Invisibility doesn’t sell!
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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We need to spend time in the proving ground. We need to prove that we can write, that we have a message or tale worth sharing—and that we care more about people than a sale. 

We need to earn the right to promote. Earn people’s trust, earn their loyalty, and then we will have earned permission to promote.

Maybe I did it all wrong. Maybe you did it all wrong. But it’s never too late to change. We can quit kicking ourselves. We can get to work and make the changes. And, hopefully, one day we’ll write a post on how thankful we are that we heeded Seth’s advice!

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I am a pastor’s wife, former missionary, mother of four great sons, and author of three Christian suspense novels: Betrayed, Identity Revealed, and A Murder Unseen. (Available at: Amazon.com.) I have a passion for God, my family, and writing! If you want to connect with me, join me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.  Interested in updates by email? CLICK HERE!

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  1. September 3, 2012 at 8:23 am

    I agree. I started a FB page about three years ago (then, it was just to stay in touch with a son in Iraq), started a blog about two years ago, started Tweeting a while ago. I strongly agree with “building relationships, trust, and credibility.” That’s why I won’t promote a book I didn’t like or haven’t read and won’t sell reviews (or buy them). If people can’t count on my word, then why would they ever buy a book with my name on it?

    • September 3, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      So true, Karen. Integrity is so important!

    • September 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm

      Karen, I hear I owe you wine and/or chocolate. See Fandina’s comment. 🙂 Thanks for recommending my blog. 🙂

  2. September 3, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Rosie, I’m pleased to meet you. Karen Elliott pointed me here. I trust her, so I followed her link, and I can say that I’ve read Seth’s encouragement to writers. Relationship building? Yes, ma’am. I can do the relationships, because in this lonely world of busyness, friendships become invaluable. Can I market? I haven’t a clue, but I figure that will take care of itself if I take care of the important things.

    • September 3, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      So you know Karen. 🙂 I’ve grown to know and appreciate her online! A great lady. Which really goes back to the article in a way. Relationships really do matter! You’ve got that right.

  3. September 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm

    I think you might owe Karen Elliot (love that woman!) a bottle of wine or a block of chocolate – I, too, came here because of her recommendation 🙂 Fantastic post and one that makes me feel that my online time is worth it and is helping the book that is slowing growing in word count. Looking forward to reading more of your posts 🙂 Have a super day!

    • September 3, 2012 at 6:07 pm

      Chocolate. Chocolate should always work! LOL! When online time is about building friendships and connecting with people, it just makes sense. If it’s “talking” aimlessly to my computer? Well, not so much sense. (Even if my computer and I are great friends!)

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