Chapter 0

Whether you make books, music, software, or sandwiches, how you describe what you make is a crucial part of how other people experience it.

Some authors submit their manuscript and expect their publisher to handle the rest. But a book’s cover, dust-jacket copy, and marketing materials are promises to the reader about the journey on which they’re about to embark. They aren’t ephemera you can safely ignore. They are Chapter 0.

Next time you make something that you want to share, remember to invest at least as much care in Chapter 0 as the thing it describes. That’s the surest way to help your thing find its people, and to help them get the most out of it.

Complement with how to grow an organic fanbase, why most successful people have no idea what made them successful, and my advice for authors.

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Eliot Peper is the author of nine novels, including Cumulus, Bandwidth, and, most recently, Veil. He sends a reading recommendation newsletter and lives in Oakland, CA.

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