My last blog talked about the fact that word of mouth sells more books. Many of the well-known books became bestsellers because of this. Alice Sebold and Dan Brown are just a couple of examples. But how do we get people talking about our books?
First of all, you need to have a platform where people can discover you. It can be a website and on social media. Some say that this doesn’t sell books. Maybe it doesn’t directly but it helps people to talk about them. The very first rule for selling books is discoverability because if no one can find it when they hear about it, word of mouth is useless.
These platforms actually have two functions. The first is to gather a fan base and the second is to sell the book. If you feel shy about putting yourself out there in the public arena you will struggle to gather a fan base. But if you’re smart about it, you can put a lot of content out there on these platforms that aren’t necessarily just about you. Remember, you want to create word of mouth about your book. So these platforms are the places to expand on everything that readers are saying about your book.
The best way to start the conversation is to ask people to read your book. You might feel like this is giving it away. But these people will be your first fans and the reviews they give will accumulate and add to the ‘talk’ about your book. They’ll also feel special about having been one of the first to read the book and will want to help you to succeed. Ask these people to tell others about it and before you know it, there are discussions creating little ripples of interest before the book hits the market.
Be as strategic as you can when asking people to read it. Think about librarians, teachers, industry professionals in your field. These are people who will talk to other readers and recommend your book to them.
So, a big part of your book marketing strategy should be to make a list of people who you will approach to read and recommend your book. Try to make a list of at least 30 and if possible, make sure you give them an actual printed book, not a pdf by email.