Speaking of Wealth has noticed that word-of-mouth ain’t what it used to be. In fact, it’s better. Telling your friend or neighbor about this great new book you found used to be a laborious process that involved seriously time consuming activities like writing a letter, using a rotary dial phone, or – heavens to Betsy – an actual face-to-face conversation. These days, for better or worse, the Internet provides the capability to spread the news of your find much more quickly and to a much larger audience.
Can anyone say Facebook? YouTube? Twitter? These three social media by themselves can assure news of the latest “must have” book will spread like pixel fire. Case in point is the either recently released or soon to be released parenting book, “Shut The F*** Up and Go to Sleep!” or something like that. See how it works? We really know nothing about the book. Don’t know if it’s in the market yet or anything but we know the name of it because the viral nature of the Internet has kicked in and is in the process of imprinting it in the brain of surfer’s everywhere.
Of course, word-of-mouth book marketing can work in reverse too. If it’s a tedious bore to read, soon millions of your closest friends will know about it. The point is that the publishing game has changed in so many ways and getting people to talk and tell their friends about your latest release is now on the mind of mainstream and independent publishers alike.
Here’s how to go about it, according to Peter Bowerman, author of the well-fed writer.
“In-demand subject matter. When I wrote The Well-Fed Writer, I was reasonably confident (okay, 100 percent dead certain) there was a market for a book that offered a step-by-step blueprint for making $75-$100-$125+ an hour as a writer. With only one other book on the market on “commercial” freelancing at the time, there was room for another.
As for The Well-Fed Self-Publisher? With all the authors out there running into brick walls trying to land a publisher or tired of making no money with one, I knew a book with the no-hype subtitle, “How to Turn One Book Into a Full-Time Living,” would find a warm reception. I was right. What about yours?
Offer practical information. Because my books are essentially firsthand accounts of how I (and others) specifically went about the process in question (i.e., starting a lucrative commercial freelancing practice or profitably self-publishing a book), there’s nothing theoretical about them. It’s real-world stuff, written by someone who’s actually done everything a reader would be doing. This authenticity makes it credible and compelling. Related to that is…
Provide nitty-gritty detail. Get into a level of detail not found in other books. Readers want you to spell things out. Don’t tell me I need to have a press release. Show me how to create a good one. Don’t just mention buying shipping envelopes for my books. Tell me what kind, the company, the model number, and how to reach them. Don’t just talk about what should go into a press kit; tell me how to craft the different pieces, down to “scissors-and-glue-stick” steps (and I do…no kidding).
Offer specific, proven resources. Give them easy-to-follow game plans. For instance, TWFSP features the Time Line appendix – seven pages detailing every step of the self-publishing path from before writing the book to after printing it, complete with page numbers for each step referring back to the part in the book that provides more detail. Don’t talk generalities. Get micro.
Make it fun and readable. A book that offers a ton of practical, detailed, in-demand information, and does it in an engaging, accessible way is tough to top. Many of my readers cite my writing style as one of the main strong suits of my books. If you want someone to hang with a book, make it worth their while to do so. Make learning a good time. If you don’t feel you can write in a way that draws readers in and keeps them engaged, consider hiring an editor or ghostwriter who can inject some life and color into your prose. I promise it will pay dividends.
Produce it well. You can release a book containing the most in-demand subject matter going, with tons of practical, real-world detail, written in a fabulously engaging style, but if it looks like the work of an amateur, it won’t come close to reaching its potential. Invest in professional resources to handle editing, cover design, interior layout, indexing and printing. Cutting corners just isn’t worth it. Over the years, countless seasoned book industry folk have commented on how un-self-published my books look.
Bottom line, write a book that’s better than it has to be. Keep asking: “How can I provide even more value to readers?” Don’t be stingy. The more you share, the more you’ll be seen as a generous author, the more fans you’ll make, the more those fans will talk, the more books you’ll sell, and the more they’ll want to buy anything else you create. Success breeds success. Do all this and you will absolutely make your ongoing marketing job infinitely easier and more fun. You’ll absolutely work less and make more money. I’m living proof it works just like that.”
Thank you, Peter. That should have been an education for authors’ who find themselves preparing to write that next book. Do everything you can to give it the best chance to thrive with word-of-mouth marketing. The best thing about word-of-mouth? It’s free.
The Speaking of Wealth Team
Flickr / Bryan Gosline