Word of Mouth
This is the truth--I have never seen a significant spike in sales after a Facebook post, a Tweet, a book review, or an author interview. This doesn't mean they aren't worth doing for reasons of building a presence, but I have come to believe that they don't produce direct or immediate sales.
I have taken a look at my own book buying habits. I don't purchase books because of an ad I saw or because the author tweeted about the book. When I want a new book to read--I ask my friends what they are reading! Every book I've read in the last twelve months was either recommended to me or it was written by an author I already know I like. There was one book I chose because it had a brilliant cover, but I never finished it.
Having said this, I do believe that garnering reviews and doing interviews are 100% worthwhile. They are free and they build your presence as an author. If your book is recommended via W.O.M. to a prospective reader, this is when they are likely to Google you or the book. At this point, it's important to have reviews, author interviews, and a website available to them.
The law of W.O.M. is as honest as the law of gravity. Anything you can do to generate W.O.M. will work! W.O.M. will sell more books than everything else you do combined! Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey owe their success to W.O.M.
So how do you generate W.O.M.? You put your sneakers on, turn off your computer, and you get out there! It involves giving your book away, doing Goodreads giveaways, donating copies to fundraisers--getting creative! You will need physical copies of your book to hand out and sell out of the back of your car.If you published an ebook, companies like Createspace offer free services to also make your book available in paperback.
What I am doing to generate W.O.M. for The Pet Washer
- Giving copies away to readers in and out of my inner circle.
- Contacting bookstores who have a "local author" section for signings and book placement.
- Contacting local gift boutiques and dog grooming salons (this is unique to my subject matter) about selling on consignment.
- Donating autographed copies to horse shows, school fundraisers, dog-related events, silent auctions, raffles.
- Arranging book signings in conjunction with other authors/events.
- Speaking at schools about creative writing and passing out Pet Washer bookmarks to the kids.
- Donating copies to school libraries.
- Utilizing family in other states by asking them to approach school libraries, bookstores, and boutiques.
- Carrying books in my car like business cards--handing them out to people who can help me market or selling them to interested customers on the spot.
- Donating them to classroom libraries.
- Donating copies to people who are involved in book clubs that read childrens books. (Lots of moms join these book clubs to preview books for their children.)
- Sponsoring local writing contests.
When I first started marketing, I was focused solely on my sales. But early sales, especially for indie's, don't tell the whole story. An avalanche is begun with a snowflake. My sales ranking obsession kept my marketing creativity in a box. It made me focus on getting customers to buy rather than on getting customers to fall in love. If I give away 50 books and my sales ranking drops like a stone, I'm still better off because, in the long run, I'm gaining readers and that is what will generate W.O.M.
My ultimate goal is to hear one kid say to another kid--"You have to read this book!"
We have to get out into the world. We have to face booksellers and customers fully-dressed, live and in person! I have been marketing in my P.J.'s for too long! It's stale and stagnant and discouraging. My brother released a CD recently and he's in the same boat as I. We have to pound the pavement, play gigs (signings and speaking for authors), push our product to anyone who's interested, sell out of our trunk--you get the idea! The average indie book sells 75 copies and 95% of traditionally published books don't sell out the author advance. We have to work to beat the odds!
Get creative about your book. What is the subject matter? How can you pair your book with store owners, local events, charities, or other professionals? We're writers! We're actually natural-born marketers. We know how to spin a sentence to attain a desired effect--that's advertising! We're Don Draper's dream team! We may not excel at math (okay, I'm speaking for myself), but we excel at ideas, imagination, dreams, and the art of evoking emotion in others. Tap into this and apply it to selling your book. Once your book builds momentum, you won't be able to stop it!
What have you done to generate W.O.M.? Please share your ideas at The Jennifer (Author) Diaries!
To Do: Brainstorm and make a marketing plan to generate W.O.M.
Read my post HERE on formatting your paperback!
Click HERE for advice on creating a best-selling book cover
Read HERE about why I decided to hire help for my book cover and editing.