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Seth Godin’s Advice for Authors

No matter what your role is in the publishing business, check out this post from Seth Godin. Item #2 is particularly interesting:

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

Kathy Sierra made this point as well in a comment to one of my earlier posts. Here are her exact words:

And while I agree wholeheartedly that the author's platform is very important, I think it's much more important *before* the book is written, rather than as a vehicle to promote the book. The more involved in the community the author is, the more likely they are to truly understand where readers are not yet being served.

If Seth’s and Kathy’s comments sound like two different concepts, read them again. It’s all about having an author platform you can leverage.

Seth also gives some props to the small publishers out there. So for those of you who weren’t satisfied by my earlier post about why small players can do just fine, see if Seth can convince you.

#9 on Seth’s list is music to my ears. He suggests you pre-edit your submissions and do something with those author copies besides just letting them sit on a shelf.

#17 is the item that most often trips up the author-turned-publisher. As Seth wisely states, “publishing a book is not the same as printing a book.”

If you’ve ever questioned whether bookstore transactions are more a “destination buy” or an “impulse buy”, check out #18. (Hint: Destination buys are more likely.)


nettie hartsock


This is a resource-full blog! I particularly liked Seth's number two as well, but I also think your list with Passion being first is so fundamentally important to a book's ultimate success.

As a journalist, I've always found I wanted to cover and write about the people who were most engaged and authentic about what they were doing. And I think the small publisher is definitely in the business because they are passionate about what they are doing despite the odds.

And I just finished Bill Bryson's book and noticed it was on your Random book list! Great read!

Nettie Hartsock

Joe Wikert

Hi Nettie. Thanks for weighing in on this. You're absolutely right about the passion factor. Speaking of passion, if you haven't discovered Kathy Sierra's blog, Creating Passionate Users, you need to check it out. You'll love it! You can find it at

nettie hartsock

Hi Joe,

I had to write back and tell you I love Kathy's blog! Thanks for the recommendation and I'll definitely keep reading your blog too as well for its wonderful insights.


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