Creating a Long-Term Marketing Plan For Your Book: An Interview with Michael Bungay Stanier

Today’s guest has sold over 200,000 copies of his latest book in the past two years — all without a traditional book contract or a big marketing budget! In this episode, he shares how a long-term plan beats just about anything you could do short-term.

Creating a Long-Term Marketing Plan For Your Book: An Interview with Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael first became interested in writing and publishing because his grandma was a writer. He was impressed by that and was also big into reading at an early age. He also wrote a lot of stories but never made a commitment to becoming a writer until the early 2000s.

It was then that he came up with idea for his first book: a self-coaching book. He talked about doing it for 5 years until his cousin’s boss heard the idea and wanted to write it! Michael told his cousin he would write it, and he set about doing so.

By this time it was around 2007 or 2008, before self-publishing was as simple as it is today. Fortunately for Michael, he had an inheritance from his grandfather, and took that to self-publish his book. Once the book was written, published and launched (including an initial order of 3,000 that sold out within the first month), he was happy with his accomplishment. In fact, he thought it was the only book he was going to write!

He was wrong. Within two years he had an idea of another book, and went the self-publishing route again. Today on The Portfolio Life we talk about that idea and how it became a self-published book that was later picked up by a publishing firm. We will also dig into why he focuses on the process of a book launch rather than specific metrics and sales milestones.

And we close with the quick and dirty advice he’d give if you are thinking of self-publishing a book. It’s all here on Episode 171 of The Portfolio Life!

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, Michael and I discuss:

  • How did he reach #2 on
  • What is one of the prerequisites for being a good writer?
  • What book did he co-author with Seth Godin?
  • Will he write another book? Why or why not?
  • Why did he choose a long-term game plan for the marketing of The Coaching Habit?

You can never control the outcome, only the process.

Michael Bungay Stanier

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Takeaways from Michael about the launch of The Coaching Habit:

  • What is the greater metric of success: a big launch or selling more books year after year?
  • How many years did he decide he would market this book?
  • Who did he target to read his book in the pre-launch, and why did he choose those people?
  • Why didn’t he hire a publicist?
  • What type of bonuses did he offer, and which would he offer next time around?

Try and do a few things and do them well.

Michael Bungay Stanier

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Michael’s thoughts on self-publishing distribution and long-term book sales:

  • How does airport distribution work, and was it a good investment for him?
  • How many copies did he sell in the first week and the first 3 months?
  • What happened when his book was sold out on Amazon?
  • What long-term marketing approaches did he take with this book?
  • How did he sell 10,000 ebooks in a week?


What steps can you take to move forward on an idea or project you’ve wanted to do but have procrastinated working on?