How to build your author platform through reverse selling, marketing

By Matt De Reno

I am not sure if this constitutes a legitimate approach to building an author’s platform or book audience, but I don’t think it hurts, and it may, at the very least, make the most out of a an unpleasant waste of your precious time. Heck, you might just relish the next time someone sells you out of the blue. Read me out.

I am guessing if you are a fellow writer you are halfway smart. Maybe not, but I will go out on a limb and assume if you are intelligent enough and bold enough to proclaim to the world that you have knowledge that you deem worthy for others to read, than you likely have friends and coworkers who are similarly smart as you. I believe that is a safe bet.

It is no great secret that successful people tend to gravitate toward other successful people. People that want to get ahead should, therefore, find folks that bring out one’s best—and not the worst—in them.

I recall a semester in college where I hardly impressed my parents with my 2.7 grade point average in my sophomore year. I shrugged and told them proudly that 2 of my 3 closest college buddies got put on academic probation and the other guy got booted.

“You never did attract the medical doctor types did you,” Mom said.

Ouch. Mom was right.

But, I digress. The point is that you likely know plenty of people just like you. That means if you like a certain type of book, there is a good chance that folks in your chosen industry, colleagues, and friends, might like it too. You gravitate toward things that you like. They do the same. By virtue of this trait, you are like each other and if you like something, there is a good chance they might like it too.

I wrote about autonomous vehicle technology for a standards publications company In this job, my primary customer was an automotive or aerospace engineer. Now, I probably don’t need to go out on a limb and say that many of these types were probably bigger nerds than I am at heart (I say that with the utmost admiration).

No doubt there is many a Star Wars, Star Trek, X-files fan in those engineering minds that had to deal with me and my website that I managed. A lot of these engineers might likely be fans of the books I like to write. Okay, great. But how do you sell them without being considered that guy who now sells books to all his closest friends by making them take a guilt trip if they don’t buy it?

My answer is to wait until they sell you something. The next time your demographic as a professional is targeted by a cold calling salesperson who came up with your cell phone somehow—get ready to sell them back. When they call you, because of your ostensible profile, you have just met a person that probably not only knows a thing or two about what you like, but is probably a lot like you—minus the crappy cold calling job—because he was hired to find people like you.

When they interrupt you to talk about refinancing your house, get to know them. Say you will listen to their spiel if they listen to yours.

"I would love to talk about your refinance offer, but I also would like to ask you a personal question… Do you like science fiction books by chance?”

“You do? Well I happen to be writing one and when we are done talking here, maybe you would like to check out my book on Amazon or learn about it on my website? Maybe I could add you to our mailing list?”

Of course, you might get some real meat head if they have no better job than cold calling you out of the blue, but think of the young intelligent interns that might be calling you for political donations? What about all those annoying folks on LinkedIn that request to connect and immediately sell your their service?

Could you not reply to their sells pitch DM with your own sales pitch?

“Hey, thanks for joining my network. I am curious if you like science fiction?”

Of course, if you want a qualified new follower or fan, then you might have to probe deeper. But just think, those recruiters on sites like LinkedIn, are typically kind of smart people—at the very least. I know for a fact one such Government jobs recruiter, who lives down the street from me, became a great beta reader of my book. This is a guy that would otherwise ask me if I was interested in his services.

If you are a writer, I am curious if you tend to reverse sell a seller? I don’t see what harm can come of it, if they are selling you, and are presumably interested and know enough about what you do, why not sell them back?

It is likely that the guy probing your interest in the hot job market, could be a potential reader you just happened to connect with because he was selling you. And if they won’t give you the time of the day about your book, well then, move on to someone that will and do the same right back at them.

I hope I have not scared anyone from networking with me on LinkedIn. I promise I won’t force my book down your throat. But, if you use that platform, feel free to connect with me at:

Matt De Reno is author of the unpublished Midas Protocol Series. You can reach out to him at