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Posted March 12, 2012


*getting the word out about your books*

When you watch a movie, read a wonderful book, or love a new product, do you share your findings with others?

What makes a book go viral and stay on the New York Times Bestseller list for 70 weeks? Having someone like Oprah Winfrey promote it on a television show, you might say.

But not all of us could sit on Oprah's couch and today, her yellow couch is off the air. What now? There's still word of mouth and I do still believe in the principle. For instance, I met Joe Kissack through Facebook and became an influencer for his self-published book, The Fourth Fisherman, helping him send the book out to my circle of friends and blogging about his project. His book was picked up by Waterbrook Publishing and he's now on a book tour from the West Coast to the East Coast and is featured in the Southern Writers Magazine March/April 2012 issue.

So, if you ask me if word of mouth creates a buzz, I would have to say yes. I have several friends who are readers and many times they'll say, "Vicki, you just have to read this book, it's really sooooo good." If someone tells me that, I usually take the time to read it. Same with a movie. I loved War Horse so much that after I sobbed through it I called friends to make sure they went to see it so they could sob through it too.

Also, it helps to have influencers. An influencer is someone who is willing to read an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) and give constructive feedback. It's also nice if they can blog about a book's launch, or write a book review on their blog. It helps if they also go to Amazon and Barnes and Noble to write a nice review.

I know some of us are more "motor mouths" than others. I once saw a hair style that would look good on a friend who had luxurious thick hair and suggested she try the new "do" since it was one that didn't suit my more silky fine hair that wouldn't hold a curl if terrorized by one. If my hair wouldn't participate at being chic, I at least wanted my friends to be chic-y.

And then, there was the time I found a dynamite dress and called up a long distance friend and said, "I'm in a store trying on the most gorgeous dress dahhhhling. I absolutely love it and you will too--gotta have one! Since we live in different cities and won't be seen in the same circles, want me to buy one for and you can pay me later?" Of course she trusted my judgment and said yes. (The truth; I could have talked her into wearing a brown paper bag because she liked my taste.) Though the dress "wore like pig iron," my friend loved it so much she wore it threadbare. Did I make a commission off of any of those sales? I wish! But no, I just wanted to share the good things in life with my friends.

But this is the best sad/jublilant story ever. Another time I owned a diesel car. I absolutely loved that vehicle. Raved about it to others. How I loved the seat, the silver color, the diesel engine sound, the performance, the smell of new car that lingered and lingered. Mmmmm-hmmmmmm. That car purrrrrred like a mountain bobcat cleaning up after a church dinner-on-the-ground. I would have made TV commercials for the local dealership for free, and embellished the truth a few notches on the high end because I loved that car so much.

My postman was so impressed with my automobile satisfaction that he made me promise to sell to him if I decided to buy a new car. When it came time to trade because my family was expanding with car seats and kids, I was so sad to give up my ride that for a split-hair second, I thought about selling the kids with car seats to boot. The postman said his kids were grown and didn't care to raise mine and promptly shoved the check into my purse while snatching the car keys from my hand and high-tailing it back to bulk mail. The jubilant part; now that my kids were farther apart in the new car's wider back seat, I no longer had to pull the fly swat from under the floor mat to threaten mayhem on the interstate. Well, not as often anyway.

However, is word of mouth the "be all, end all" for selling books? I think it does help to create a buzz and to keep a buzz going. However, advertisement money may have to be spent to either crank up the buzz or to keep the buzz revving so word can get out faster.

Blog rolls are also a great way to get the word out and create a buzz. If you know bloggers and book reviewers who are always gabbing like I am, definitely approach them to help get the word out about your project. The internet is an amazing place and I never dreamed my web site would have over half a million hits and be viewed in over 75 countries last count. Someone from Belarus, the Ukraine, or Slovenia may be interested or needing the novel or nonfiction book you're trying to promote. And who knows, a lurker might take a while to decide he likes what he sees and then come back for another look before being hooked to buy.

But let me leave you with something to chew on. After Jesus was crucified, the disciples probably thought their gig was up. They'd lost their leader. They'd lost their confidence. At first, they were grief stricken with no desire or energy to peddle the Good News. And before that, poor John the Baptist who was in jail awaiting the loss of his head sent word back to Jesus asking him, "Are you sure you're the One?" (kinda paraphrased) Poor followers! Knowing people haven't changed from one generation to the next, I can just hear them now saying, "Wow, can you believe what happened to John the Baptist? His head. On a plate. And now Jesus. Who claimed to be...well...think we've been duped all along or what?" Then look what happened when after three days, the true Influencer appeared.

After Jesus allowed a few fingers through his nail holes by Doubting Thomas and gave a few pep talks and finally departed for heaven promising them Power to come, the disciples were fortified and bolstered, and began traveling around talking about their "Project." And the concept of Christianity spread like wildfire. I'm wondering what the disciples would think about the invention of electricity, then the computer, then the worldwide web. I'll bet they would be blogging like *cwazy" trying to get their Good Book promoted even more.

So, if you really like a hairstyle, a car, a dress, or would like to help someone birth a book, or even raise someone's book from the grave--heh-heh--blab...er...blog a little for a friend. Shout it from the rooftops and help get the word out.

Comments anyone?

If you would like to comment or have questions about this article, email me vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com

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Email to....:vmoss@livingwaterfiction.com