Now, the thing about publishing a technical book is that even though the publisher can get the book to the shelves, it's still up to the author to do a lot of their own marketing. The publisher ain't going to push this thing like a new Games of Thrones book (not that that'd need advertising...or that that's going to happen at this rate. Anyway...).
It's probably fair to say that most technical authors are not great marketers. It's a tough job, because unless you're writing on a very niche subject, there are probably a few competing titles for a limited number of eyeballs. How do you get people to pay attention to your book?
Well, for me I did plenty of the basic stuff -- things like tweeting about the book a lot much to the annoyance of my closest Twitter pals. But today I want to talk about the three things that I've done only on a semi-regular basis:
1. Write blog posts
2. Do interviews that are posted online
3. Speak at conferences
And since the book came out, some of my interviews and blog posts have made it to the front page of Hacker News. So pairing up when all these posts went up and when I spoke with my sales data from BookScan, I was able to get a sense of which of these activities gives me the best bang for my buck.
Now, I hoped the most effective activity would be blog posts. Why? Because I like writing, and I don't have to leave my bedroom to do it. Interviews are cool too, but while they don't require travel, they do require me talking about myself, which is nauseating.
As for speaking, it's is a lot of fun, but as a father of three, I don't like being on the road all the time and I keep wondering whether speaking is all that great since you don't have the internet as your bullhorn. You can only sell your book to a few people in the room. It's got limited reach.
So, here's a line chart of my sales numbers (I erased the y-axis but it does start at 0) for all the weeks since the book was released. I've noted important events on the graph. Let's dig in.