The Power of Word of Mouth Marketing

Of all the marketing you’ll do as an author, the Tweets, the ads, the book signings, there’s one thing that will always sell more books than any other and that’s word of mouth marketing.

Seeing an ad or a Tweet might interest you in a book, but does it drive you to buy a book? Not as much as having a friend, a sister, or a teacher recommend that book to you. Word of mouth.

I will sometimes buy books based on what I see on Twitter, but I live in a publishing bubble. Ninety percent of my Twitter feed is book stuff. Most readers aren’t like that. They’ll see a book or book mention in passing, but they won’t likely see it 50 times a day like I do. They don’t likely follow all the book people. Like I do.

Creating Word of Mouth

So how do you create word of mouth? How do you get people to talk about your book?

Easy. You ask.

I recently shared a story about my experience with a success coach. After working two years with Andria, it was decided that I was ready to fly the nest. An overwhelming prospect, but that’s a story for another day.

When Andria and I finished our final call she asked if I would be willing to give a testimonial. Of course, I was. She’s amazing. That testimonial now appears on her website and, of course, on this blog. I wonder, how many authors regularly ask readers to leave reviews?

Reviews are word of mouth. I read reviews before buying almost anything from a book, to a dehumidifier, to a pair of shoes. Readers are the same. Before downloading or ordering that book they are going to read reviews and the more reviews the better.

Making the Ask

Making the ask isn’t as hard as you think. If you get reader mail it’s as easy as replying and letting readers know that the best way to support authors they love (besides pre-orders) is to leave reviews. Most don’t know.

Make it easy. Guide them there. Give them the links to the sites you want reviews left on (Goodreads) and tell them to share exactly what they shared with you.

As your followers. You’ve got them. They’re on Twitter and Facebook and everywhere else. Have you asked them to leave you a review? If not, do it. Now!

Asking others for something can be hard, but those who ask are those who succeed. It’s those testimonials and positive Yelp reviews that drive people to businesses. You are an author. With a business. You need to drive people there.

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7 comments

  1. Another good piece of advice. I am wondering how you feel about people commenting on books that are being queried. For example, if my 4 beta readers love my manuscript I am querying, should I consider having them do a short review and put it on my twitter site or website? Is that anything that would peak an agent’s interest or grow word of mouth? Just curious what you think. Thanks.

    1. Martha–I don’t recommend it. It never looks professional to have reviews on unpublished material. The exception to that might be if it was a referral who told you specifically to send it to someone, but honestly, it is better if you just keep those contacts until you need them and that’s prior to publication.

  2. Jessica, your Blog is always worth reading. As an unpublished (as yet) author I have learned a great deal from it. Talking to friends and others will be easy, but should I send my ready-to-agent MS in digital form to them for their comments pre-pub?

    I am working on my presentation for two books: a childhood historical places memoir and an unusual Sci. Fi/ fantasy to find a literary agent; so your advice would be welcome.
    Thank you,
    Mary Wallis Gutmann

    1. Mary: Thanks for the question. There is no need to get blurbs before publication. Between the time you find an agent and the time a book is published it is going to go through many edits and alterations.

  3. This is great advice and one I’ll have to remember when I am published. Hopefully I won’t feel as nervous about asking fro reviews then as I am thinking about it now!

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