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Book marketing: As much as we would like to think that all trends are Madison Avenue creations propagated by the media, many times a movement is sparked by the action of a selected few. Subsequently, word of mouth makes it spread. Malcolm Gladwell examines this phenomenon in his 2000 book The Tipping Point. A particular chapter where he describes how this kind of movement by a few groups powered Rebecca Wells 1996 novel, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, to surprising success. When I read that I sat up and took notice. Every author could use the same concepts to market their novel.
Here's how. 1.) Write Your Book So Its Sticky. Make it your best effort not to compromise your artistic integrity, but do ask yourself the hard question, how much will your story appeal to others? When a book is sticky, it is easy to remember. The story stays with people and they want to talk about it and tell others to read it. Bridget Jones Diary is definitely sticky.
So is practically everything that Stephen King ever wrote and all of the Harry Potter books. The topic doesn't have to be upbeat either.
Book Marketing - Promotion
Truman Capote novel In Cold Blood was a sensation when it was published despite its grim subject matter. Since I was writing about a family with a powerful father figure I knew a lot of people would connect and see themselves in the characters. What aspect of your book will draw people in?
2.) Be a Salesman. Yes, be a salesman, but not in the way you might think. I'm not talking about being "in your face" like the stereotype of a used car salesman. As Mr. Gladwell points out in his book, it's the little things that can persuade others. For a writer, that "little thing" is confidence and a strong belief in one's work.
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I recently spoke to a writer having a hard time feeling confident about her work. She's trying to get up the courage to submit a manuscript to agents and publishers but, as I said to her, "How can someone get behind publishing your book if you can't get behind it yourself?" People are attracted to a person who stands for something, who believes in what they're doing.
If you can be that person, people will want to buy your book. They'll know you have something to say. If you're dealing with low confidence, know that working on improving it is just as important as improving your craft as a writer. After all, no one is going to champion your book the way that you can.
3.) Use Small Groups To Spark Your Big "Epidemic". In the fertile soil of small groups, word of mouth grows. That's what happened with "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood". It became a favorite for book groups, especially mother-daughter book groups. Those groups sparked a word of mouth wave that spread like wildfire.
Book Marketing - Visibility
As Mr. Gladwell points out, "small, close-knit groups have the power to magnify the epidemic potential of a message or idea". What groups can you reach out to in order to harness the power of those circles? And how can you fan the flame of your message so it will spread?
One Last Note: Why is all this important? Well, if you've gone through all the trouble to write and publish a book, your efforts won't stand up if you don't tell people the book is out there. And the concepts offered by Mr. Gladwell are so simple and organic that you may find the whole marketing pill easier to swallow. So take it--it's good medicine.
© Sophfronia Scott
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