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Market your book before you start it

How to write a book...and get it publishedAs you’re drafting your cover and creating your book proposal, be sure to start letting people know. Book creation is more fun when you’re in conversation with your intended audience. And it’s smart marketing too.

Build an email list

The biggest mistake I see people making is keeping the book a secret until it’s published.

Huge mistake!

People will be more likely to buy the book if they’ve helped in the process of writing it. And it will be a much better book if you get readers’ feedback along the way.

You could simply start by telling people you’ll be writing a book. It’s even better to put drafts of chapters on a blog. That way people can interact with what you write and you can clarify and improve as you go. Plus the pressure of writing a blog post can keep you disciplined in a way that simply writing on your computer can’t.

And as soon as you stop reading this post, if you’re serious about being an author, start ethically collecting people’s email addresses by creating an email list of people interested in the book’s topic. You can see my email optin on the front page of I started writing drafts of segments of the book and emailing them. Then I realized that I wanted the drafts to have more of a life than just languishing in people’s inbox so I started a blog.

I think building an email list is vital. You can build a far more personal relationship with your email subscribers than you can with your social media connections. And email subscribers respond much better to calls to action.

As you develop relationships with people on your email list and blog, you’ll be able to ask them questions. Since my list was targeted to people who might eventually buy my book, I asked my email list to help it. My subscribers came up with much better titles than I did. And even more important: they were telling me what titles would be more compelling to them as customers.

Books don’t make you rich

One last thought: my first publisher gave me a reality check: books won’t make you rich. We’ve all heard of authors getting amazing advances. But those are increasingly rare. He said books are really only expensive business cards. The financial payback is the credibility books give to their authors.

Even in our digital age, books make you credible. People see you’ve written a book, especially one in print, and are unduly impressed. “Oh, she is legit. She’s authored a book.” So if you’re ever going to go to a job interview or do consulting or get paid to give speeches, a book is probably the single best investment you can make.

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and He's also the executive director of and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to

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