Whether you’re a Mascot author, publishing with a traditional house, or still writing your story, we want to give you the knowledge you need to successfully create and launch your book. We’re passionate about demystifying the publishing process and giving you an inside look at what goes into the editorial, design, marketing, and distribution decisions you’ll encounter as an author.

Our blog is chalk-full of practical advice for writers at all stages in the process. If you’re looking for advice on marketing, we’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find excerpts from How to Sell a Crapload of Books: 10 Secrets to a Killer Author Marketing Platform, co-authored by Mascot Books’ founder Naren Aryal and New York Times bestselling ghostwriter Tim Vandehey. If you join our mailing list, we’ll email you a free ebook that will teach you everything you need to know about marketing your book.

Platform-Building: The Facts and Fakes of Building an Audience

If you’ve ever entertained the idea of publishing a book, then you’ve heard it: You can’t get anywhere without a strong author platform. Despite the tendency among newbie authors to dismiss such talk as propaganda, it’s 100 percent true. It’s true whether you’re self-publishing or trying to get that big publishing deal from a prestigious New York City house. No matter how wonderful your work is, without a strong author platform, you won’t sell very many books.

The trouble is that too many inexperienced authors either don’t know this or refuse to believe it. Writing is the most over-mythologized profession in the world, and myths about publishing and quality versus marketing tend to pile up until most writers can’t see over the mountain of bullshit. These are some of the most common myths about platform, the ones that deal body blows to well-meaning authors:

Marketing: Cultivating a Community of Buyers

The Secrets are guidelines for helping you master both the art and science of book marketing. Rather than tell you what to do, they’re about how to approach your author platform—mistakes to avoid, ways to channel your limited resources and so on. Use them as a sort of operating system for your marketing—always running under the surface, invisible but shaping everything you do.

Do that and you’ll perform like a boss in the Four Seasons of Platform Development:

  • Season One: Till. Start off by preparing the soil, getting ready, making sure you have your tools and all the stuff you’ll need.
  • Season Two: Plant. Start seeding the world with content and messages from your blog, social networks and so on.
  • Season Three: Feed. Just like with a crop, you’ve got to weed and feed your platform. You’ll create incentives and find allies.
  • Season Four: Harvest. Your book’s almost out, and it’s all about promotions, coordination, pre-orders and media opportunities.

There are plenty of coaches and consultants out there who will tell you otherwise. They run seminars and sell books that insist you can build an author platform in just 30 days—a platform, by the way, that will propel you to fame and fortune. But that’s just nonsense.

First Steps: Build on What You Have

We spend our days talking with hopeful authors who are inevitably chagrined at the work and time required to build a strong author platform. That’s understandable; when you’re starting from square one, everything looks daunting. However, you’re not exactly starting from square one. Most authors have more foundational platform pieces in place than they realize. It’s just a matter of looking at them in the right way.

This is important because many new authors come into publishing thinking that they have to spend big dollars to create a platform from nothing. They’re convinced that they have to spend hugely on things like a lavish website, a professional PR agency, and advertising. But that’s just not the case. True, there are some things you need to be prepared to spend a few bucks on: