“I heard you on Jay Shetty’s podcast. How did you get on it?”
“I saw your book hit the Wall Street Journal bestseller list. How did you do it?”
“I’m launching a new book/product/service in 2 months. What’s the best thing I can do to promote it?”
I get questions like these frequently.
The answer most people want to hear is this: “Here’s the formula, the hack, the magic bullet, the thing that will make a HUGE splash.”
They hear someone on a major podcast and assume that the podcast appearance made the person popular.
They see someone with a massive social-media following and assume that they became famous because of social media.
They see someone give a TED talk about a bestselling book and assume that the book became a bestseller because of the TED talk.
But these assumptions are often wrong.
Someone gets to appear on a major podcast usually because they are already well-known.
Social media rarely makes people famous. It reflects how famous they already are.
Authors don’t get handed a talk on the main TED stage unless they already have a bestselling book.
Once upon a time, you’d get a book deal, and if the book did well, you’d become famous. Now you have to be somewhat famous before you can even get a book deal with one of the “Big Five” publishers.
I started promoting Think Like a Rocket Scientist three years before it came out. That’s not a typo. That’s three years I worked to launch a blog, write a weekly newsletter, and build an audience, just so I had the reputation and credibility to get an agent and a publishing deal.
Much of this work is invisible—and it happens years before the launch—so it gets ignored.
But it’s the invisible pre-launch work that drives the visible post-launch results.
Publicity begins before you start writing the book or creating the product. Who is it for? How will you reach them? How will you delight them? How will you make the product so remarkable that people will organically spread the word?
If you’re looking for publicity ideas two months before your launch, it’s too late.
The best time to start promoting something is before you create it.