Without an audience of ideal readers, who do authors sell their books to? 

Sadly, the likely answer is no one

So when authors ask me when they should start marketing their still-unpublished book, my answer is always the same: “Today!”

Waiting until your book is uploaded to Amazon or KDP or even after your book launch party to begin growing a community is an all-too-common mistake that authors make. The truth is, without an engaged audience, you will not have readers lining up to buy your book. In fact, you may end up like the thousands of people who publish books but never get the ROI they had hoped for.

The good news is that having a marketing strategy to grow your community even before your book is published can help you see that return on investment. When you enroll your audience in your mission, you will have excited readers buying your book, filling your courses and programs, listening to your podcasts and watching you speak on stage.

The book publishing process often goes like this for nonfiction authors: 

  1. You have an idea for a book
  2. You get a book coach or outline the book using a program
  3. You write the book
  4. You have the manuscript edited for mistakes
  5. You officially publish and have a book launch

But if you follow this typical path, you will end up missing what I think is the most vital piece. Even after completing all these steps, if you do not have a built-in community, you will be left with a box full of books to sell and no one to share them with. You may feel like your book failed and that was a waste of your time, effort, and money. 

Marketing your book ahead of publishing can provide the solution before there is ever a book sales issue. 


Before your book is available for purchase, you can create a community of raving fans who will be excited to buy it, share it, and advocate for it too. And the way to grow an engaged audience like that is with your book marketing.

Marketing your book before it is published may sound strange to you and you might wonder, if there is nothing to purchase, what is the point of talking it about?

You do not need to have your book physically available yet before you start building a community of ideal readers. Begin to share your mission, vision, and ideas within your book as soon as possible.


Book and brand marketing take time, effort, and consistency. The first step is to develop messaging that will truly resonate with your ideal reader. If your message does not land well, it will just become part of the noise online. 

There is so much noise coming at us every single day online. As you scroll through your social media, what makes you stop and read a post? It is the messaging that has called out to you and makes it feel like the post was written just for you. The sooner you begin to put posts that stop the scroll for your community, the sooner you will start building up your audience.


The next step is to engage with your audience and begin to nurture the relationship with them. As you develop a strong relationship, this is how you will inspire them to invest in you, your mission, your book, and your services.

It is important that you do not just post and walk away, though. Social media is not a box you can check off on your never-ending to-do list. Engagement requires you to respond to their likes, comments, and direct messages. Instead of liking a comment, you can reply to it and ask a question. Then, they will likely reply with an answer. You can keep chatting in the comments or begin a real conversation in the DMs. 

When you begin a dialogue with your ideal readers, not only will they be more interested in eventually buying your book, but you will also get so much market research. You will find out what your audience desires, what their problems are, and you will be able to tailor your messaging to really resonate with them.

“Every overnight sensation is years in the making”


The third step for creating a vibrant community is to repeat steps one and two consistently. By showing up regularly for your audience, you will help them get to know you and like you, and prove to them that you are trustworthy. That is how you establish the credibility necessary for them to buy your book and more.

I often call consistency the Granny Panties of Book Marketing because it is totally not exciting or sexy. But it is necessary – day in and day out. 

In order to develop that consistency piece, you may want to consider working with a book marketing strategist who can help keep you accountable and offer guidance along the way. It is all well and good when you have a checklist to follow but one-on-one consulting can make a huge difference in terms of your book’s success. To learn more about our Impactful Author 1:1 Program, click here.


When you provide valuable online content for your audience in multiple approaches, you will be able to reach even more people. Consider the different ways ideal readers may prefer to take in information. Some of your community members will want to read your written posts and others will opt to watch your videos. Some might want to listen to a podcast while others might like to participate in a live Q&A.

Offering them a variety of ways to learn from you will continue to help you grow your community. As you keep showing up, you will be building your authority and credibility every single day. Remember, when your dream readers begin to view you as a subject matter expert, they will be excited to buy your book when it is available.


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