One way to promote your writing - Steven Pressfield

Make a whole video series discussing your book(s) or writing. Though I think it was meant to be educational, a corollary effect is that it exposes your work to a wider audience. 8)

The Warrior Archetype

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Pressfield can do this, because his work is already well known, and he already has a platform. The War of Art is a fantastic book and most artists/writers should read it, provided it doesn’t become gospel for them.

For the emerging writer, this video series strategy is just more time away from writing.

Typically, as cliché as it sounds, the best way to promote your writing is to “write a damn good book” in the first place. I’ve worked with authors for over a decade. Most don’t make it. Those that do focus on their writing. From the amateurs (and those deemed professional amateurs) there is this tendency to believe marketing or promotion is what they need. The reality is Marketing:

  1. can sink you faster if your work is not up to snuff.
  2. can lead you to believe in various nonsensical mantras, like, “Your network demonstrates your net worth.” Where you then spend more time in promotion and networking than writing.
  3. Ultimately, it can foster an incestuous and unsustainable path of follow for follow, read for read, promote for promote, buy for buy. “We rise together,” bullshit. The sooner an author becomes comfortable with the lonely path that writing actually is, the sooner they embrace the freedom to write unabashedly.

For #3, there is also reality that the economics are against you and tribal mentality of “assured loyalty” backfires. All this incestuous friend marketing means you buy 10 books at $9.99. So basically $100 spent. These same 10 people buy your books but you only made (and they only made) $15. So you’re out $85. It’s a recipe for poverty and seeing new potential readers not as people, but as potential relief from financial stress.

So, best way to promote your book? Write a damn good one in the first place. Then it can promote itself.

Non-fiction marketing is also completely different from fiction marketing.

You can effectively market non-fiction books by establishing yourself as an expert on whatever the subject of the book is and being visible in communities that care about that topic. And, as an expert, lectures, consulting services, magazine articles, and so on both help build your brand and are potential revenue streams in themselves.

Fiction is a totally different, uh, story.


Yes, very true.

Though for non-fiction establishing oneself as an expert is very different from actually being one. Sure, the number of books can suggest more expertise, but what I’ve personally seen is far too many try to establish themselves as an expert, adopt a “fake it to you make it” approach (even those in fiction, when claiming to be experts on the craft or some other topic). Neither work longterm, because once the BS meters are engaged, it’s incredibly hard to recover with an audience.

Yes. The correlation between ability to sound knowledgeable on the internet and actual knowledge is not particularly strong. Especially in fields where the true experts are paid lots of money to be experts, and therefore don’t have much time to spend arguing with PhDs from Google University. We’ve seen a lot of that in connection with the pandemic, to give just one example.


Thanks for your recommendation, maybe I will try to do this soon

Thank you for pointing this out. As a non-fiction writer it is very encouraging.

And it can be a circular issue, as well. Contributing to non-fiction books written by others, collaborating with other authors, and writing your own books can also be a way to establish your expertise in those topics. Thus the actual act of writing helps solidify your credentials.

Thank you for that observation. Though I have written a couple of book manuscripts I have not published them, probably for the best. I have written many well received articles and monographs. I am revising, re-calibrating and cannibalizing my previous unpublished books with the help of Scrivener.

I am considered to be in the top 2 percentile of what I do thus I am actually an expert in my field (after doing it for 40+ years). Thus Katherine’s comment was welcome and encouraging.

And I have also seen people who are just new kids on the block writing shoddy entry level texts in a bid to establish their creds, And many fall for this for lack of better material. But when the better product is revealed the inevitable happens the others naturally pass into oblivion. May not happen over night but gradually as demand for the superior product increases and the inferior dies out.

So thank you for that observation. It reminded me of what my spiritual preceptor once said “there will always be a demand for the authentic product.” That has proved true at least in my case as I can not keep up with demand for my services. I am a victim of my own success so to speak. :laughing:

So I am expecting to have similar success with a series of books. After reading Katherine’s comments.

In all fairness to Pressfield I probably should not have titled it as a way to engage in book promotion. He just had a lot of time on his hands during the pandemic and came up with this tactic to releave his boredom as a creative outlet to discuss his already very popular books.

This is of course the challenge when you are the product: there are only so many hours in the day.

Books are one way to reach more people than you can personally engage with.


When I went through this, part of what helped me build an authentic expertise and base was to find a niche that was being underserved. In my case, I became the blogger/writer/speaker who took complex topics in my SME and attempted to break them down into case studies in how to apply specific principles and technologies. Do X, Y, and Z to solve this specific problem, but now that you’ve done that…what would need to be different for you to choose a different process? Why would you pick Y’ instead of Y, for example? When would Z be superfluous? As an IT consultant, there is always a need to be able to speak knowledgeably to both IT admins and CxO-level decision makers at your clients, but I tried to fill that gap and translate those viewpoints for each other. Turns out there were few enough people doing that publicly at that time that I was able to make a name for myself, and gave me a unique voice and approach for the books I contributed to.

Thank you for that observation. One question, what does “SME” mean in this context?

Lots of potential meanings

On further thought I think in Pressfield’s case he was not really doing this to promote his books but to occupy his time during the pandemic. So my titling it “One way to Promote Your books” was not accurate.

Having said that you make some very valid points. Thank you for your insights.

Subject matter expertise/expert