Big Bang, Inflation, Steady-State (Marketing Strategies)

Image from ShutterStock

Image from ShutterStock


One of the main book marketing strategies that I see focuses around a Big Bang.

Yet a book marketing strategy that focuses more on consistency may have better long-term potential.

There are benefits and disadvantages of each, which depend on the nature of the book and author.

And recent changes in the dynamic book publishing environment impact the decision for how to market.


The Big Bang book marketing strategy focuses on driving as much traffic as possible to the book’s product page over a short period of time.

Pre-marketing and buzz-building are amped up for a powerful book launch with several early reviews and many early sales.

BookBub and related promotions are utilized to revitalize sales with additional Big Bangs throughout the year.

Email lists for a newsletter and online followings are grown to launch the next book with a Bigger Bang.

New content is released frequently to generate more Big Bangs.


The steady-state book marketing strategy strives to fuel consistent sales.

Regular sales are favored more than sales spikes.

One main goal is to sustain sales long-term.

Another main goal is to reach a point where sales generate much on their own.


The inflation book strategy is similar to the steady-state strategy.

Emphasis is placed on long-term growth.

It’s not sufficient to sustain sales; the goal is to improve sales annually.

New content is released to help improve sales.

Branding, word-of-mouth, and long-term strategies are applied to generate future sales.


Many successful indie fiction authors that I have met have used the Big Bang book marketing strategy quite effectively.

Traditional publishers often launch their books with a Big Bang.

I have drawn my success in nonfiction with the inflation book marketing strategy.

There are also popular authors who have earned their success with a combination of Big Bang and inflation strategies.

Personally, given a choice, I prefer sales consistency to sales spikes. That’s the key to long-term success.

You aren’t presented with a choice, though. For some books, a Big Bang is more attainable than sales consistency.

But if you can have both sales spikes and annual sales growth, you get the best of both worlds.

Furthermore, some recent changes in book publishing dynamics may shift the balance a little.


If you succeed in generating many sales over a short time, your sales rank can really soar.

This improves your chances of landing on a hot new release or top 100 bestseller list (at least in a subcategory).

Some customers browse through the bestseller lists, so this is your one shot to reach those readers.

Frequent sales help give your book additional exposure through customers-also-bought lists, recommendations, etc.

In can take 100 to 1000 sales to get a review, so the sooner you get your sales, the sooner you get customer reviews.

You also get word-of-mouth exposure sooner, and you can build a fan club faster, which helps you release your new books.

If you have other similar books, a sales spike in one book can feed sales to your other books.


It’s hard to maintain a stellar sales rank, which limits the benefits.

If you generate a lot of early reviews from an early sales spike, once the sales rank drops off, the review-to-sales-rank ratio may arouse customer suspicion. (But you can run new short-term promotions in the future to help revive your sales rank.)

Some of the popular methods of Big Bang book marketing, like BookBub and other advertisements, can be somewhat expensive, which makes Big Bang marketing riskier.

Amazon may have recently changed their algorithm to limit the long-term influence of sales spikes on sales rank.

If you could get many of those same sales distributed more evenly over a longer period (not that this is easy to do: a short-term promotion is easier), such sales consistency might have a better long-term impact on sales rank. (Analyzing which factors impact sales rank is complicated, though, and so this might not actually be quite the case.)

It can take a lot of work over a short period to create a high level of anticipation and to generate many early sales.


Consistent sales over a long period lend better stability to your Amazon sales rank.

This may now also have a stronger long-term influence on your sales rank.

Customer reviews are more likely to seem aligned with sales rank at any given time.

Your book is less susceptible to one untimely influential review, technical problems beyond your control, etc.

If you invest in advertising, you can do it with a long-term promotional plan, risking less per month than with the short-term promotions involved in Big Bang marketing.

There is much long-term potential if you succeed in driving consistent sales over a long period.

Your first few books haven’t dropped off the chart when you release a new book, which makes it easier to help a new release feed sales to your older books.

You spread your work load out over a longer period.


It takes very frequent sales to get the best exposure with bestseller and hot new release lists.

It’s not easy to generate consistent, long-term sales over a long period of time.

You need to find effective, long-term marketing strategies, and it takes dedication and patience to see them through.

Consistent sales over a long period often requires releasing new content periodically.

It takes longer to recover your investment, and more time to grow your sales.

While it would be great to achieve both, you do have to make some decisions that lean one way or the other.

For example, if you tell everyone you know about your new release at the same time, many are likely to buy it on the same day. But if you tell different groups on different days, you might get more consistent sales. Each option has its benefits and drawbacks. (Though if your book will be on sale for a short period, why not be a nice guy or gal and let people you know in on the deal?)

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

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14 comments on “Big Bang, Inflation, Steady-State (Marketing Strategies)

  1. Chris, Of course, I thought of the Big Bang Theory TV show when I first saw this. (Call me shallow.)
    Great ideas. Can’t wait to use them! Well, I guess I’ll need to write a book first. hmmmm? yeah, probably

  2. I think some of it also comes down to the author;s style and what we can sustain. I’m a slow and steady it seems. It’s nice to know that is actually an acceptable strategy:)

  3. Am excellent post. Your choice of strategy may also depend on your long-term plans. For example, are you trying to impress an agent? You may want to spike your sales to pique their interest when you know they’ll be checking you out.

  4. I don’t see the division I need to know: fiction vs. non-fiction. As someone whose long-term strategy will be to get Book 1 up there and go back to writing, and not expect much until Book 3 is live (several more years), my marketing ‘plans’ will always be different from everyone else’s.

    I love to read your posts, and I try to find the little pieces of everything I read that may be applicable to the way I produce fiction (big fat volumes, mainstream, slowly).

    Answers are so different from those needed by the write-a-fast-bunch-of-minimally-edited-short-novels-and-throw-them-up-there writers.

    • That’s right, in fiction the marketing is different for individual books versus series, and with series, it’s different for slow releases with longer works than it is for rapid releases of shorter works. I’d be looking at how to get as many people to read volume one as possible, banking on the effort that went into the first volume to draw them in, and the effort that will go into the subsequent volumes to pull them through.

      • I know! The minute I get this cover finished, out it goes, and I can pick up the real project – writing – where I left off.

        It is going to be a handselling job to get started – I will send a single email to all the people who gave me their addresses and have left kind comments.

        I’m looking forward to it – and to keeping notes. I’m not the only person launching this kind of novel – maybe I can find more, and I can provide the kind of service you do, figuring things out and then blogging about them.


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