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Thread: Promoting a book BEFORE you get the deal -- why are people doing this?

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  1. #1
    Born at sea Clairels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    The 18th parallel

    Promoting a book BEFORE you get the deal -- why are people doing this?

    I'm seeing more and more unpublished authors seeking agents and trade publishing deals (NOT self-published, that's a different ballgame), who seem to think that the time to start promoting their books is BEFORE they find a book deal or even an agent.

    By this, I mean, sending out tweets like "Visit my website to read an excerpt from MY FIRST NOVEL, coming on UNKNOWN DATE from UNKNOWN PUBLISHER!" or creating websites specifically for the book, or posting excerpts from early drafts of the book. In some cases these books aren't even finished.

    Their thinking is that this will help them get published. My thinking (and what I thought was the industry's thinking) is that this would actually do more harm than good. While I understand the value of building a platform, your platform should be for you as an author, not for any specific book, and that no decent publisher would want you promoting a book that may change drastically--up to and including the title--between the time it's picked up and the time it's released, and on which their editorial and marketing departments haven't had any input.

    My thinking is also that the best way to get the attention of publishers is to write a good book and a good query letter, first and foremost.

    Also, where is this coming from? Is there some guru out there promoting this? Are people just misinterpreting the whole "platform" approach? I encountered someone on a Facebook group for writers just today who insisted that she promoted her book for a year before it was published and that "four publishers all wanted my book."

    So please, tell me would this be helpful? Harmful? Maybe just useless? Because it's frankly driving me crazy every time I see it, but if I'm wrong and there is value in it, maybe I need to pipe down.
    Last edited by Clairels; 07-04-2019 at 08:50 PM.
    Where to find me:

    Setting sail in the July 2019 issue of Cosmopolitan with “What It’s Like to Date a Boat Guy.”
    In the Washington Post "Relationships" column, explaining the madness of small island dating.
    Chatting with relationship coach Chelsea Leigh Trescott on her podcast, "Thank You Heartbreak."


    turns 20 in a world that won't talk about it," December 2017 essay in The Rumpus
    "The Blue Line," short story in Oakwood 2017

    Represented by Olswanger Literary



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