Many self-published authors, and even those who aren't, are largely responsible for their own marketing. Promoting one's own books takes up a lot of time, so much in fact that many say it takes up more time than actually writing. For every four hours the self-published author spends on marketing, they might spend just one on writing books. So when should you start promoting that very first book, or even your second? When is it time to shut down the Word program and fire up Twitter instead?
When should self-published authors start promoting their books? The answer to that one is pretty simple: immediately. Begin building your brand even before that first book is released. Start creating a buzz for your new book while you're still working on the first draft. And once you start promoting your books, you never stop promoting. After that first day of marketing, it becomes your every day job.
Welcome to the life of a self-published author. You become one the moment you make the decision to self-publish, and that means you've also made a decision to start marketing. Make a Twitter account, a Facebook page. Join some online forums for writers and readers. And start talking about your upcoming book. Build up your fan base and let them into your process. You should also have a blog even before your first book comes out, and start regularly working on posting new content and gaining new followers.
There's an easy answer to this one. If you're a self-published author, or you're going to be, it's never too early to start promoting. Finding the line between promoting and over-promoting...well, that's a whole different blog post. But the getting started part, that's easy. So, go!