How to Launch a Book Without a Platform: Interview with Rachel Swanson

A question many first-time authors ask is how to launch a book without a platform? Is it possible or do you need to build your followers first?

How to Launch a Book Without a Platform: Interview with Rachel Swanson

Our guest for today proves you can successfully launch and sell a book, without a major platform. Rachel Swanson was once an aspiring author with a small blog – under 100 email subscribers – and what she did with her first book was nothing short of amazing! She launched a book and sold thousands of copies in the first few weeks, and that trend has continued ever since.

To start off, I share the email she sent to pitch herself to come on this show. I think it's a great example of how to position yourself when asking to be a guest on any podcast or other medium, and I wanted you to hear it.

We then transition into talking about how her book has sold over 10,000 copies. This is an exceptional milestone that many books don't reach in their first year, and yet Rachel has accomplished this in just the first six months of her book's launch!

On today’s episode of The Portfolio Life, we discuss how Rachel's book came to be and how it became so successful, plus candid advice for following in her footsteps.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, Rachel and I discuss:

  • How to combine multiple trends to create something new.
  • Why is it all about service, rather than book sales?
  • Why Rachel is glad to give away her books.
  • Where did she get the idea for this book?
  • What it takes to sell 10,000 books when you don't have a large community.

The more you serve the more you will get back in the long run.

Rachel Swanson

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The story of her book

  • How did she know there was a need for this topic?
  • How did an app help her create this book?
  • Did she send a query to agents before she had a proposal together?
  • How many times did her proposal get rejected and what did each teach her?
  • What is the category her book created?

I'm looking at connecting, and not just selling a book.

Rachel Swanson

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What she did to generate book sales

  • How to give your work a competitive edge.
  • How can you tap into an existing trend while still standing out?
  • What are different ways you can attract the attention of agents and publishers?
  • The initial big boost of sales was driven by what?
  • What’s the best way to approach relevant influencers when launching your book?


What will you do differently to get your book published now that you've heard Rachel's story? Let us know in the comments.