Ariel Lawhon started us off this week talking about Word of Mouth as a valuable means of promoting our work. She and Marybeth Whalen know a thing or two about word of mouth when it comes to promoting the work of Christian authors. They developed She Reads (our sister blog) for just that purpose. In less than a year's time they have 10,000 visitors a month, and more than 120 bookclubs under their umbrella. We here at Novel Matters appreciate the great work they're doing on behalf of Christian fiction.
Bonnie concluded her post on Wednesday by saying, "... and while aspects of Word of Mouth will likely remain a mystery, there are foundational beginnings -- the rock first thrown into still waters -- that set things in motion ..." The social network is like concentric circles on the pond. Often you make an initial splash, but then one by one the outer circles disappear until there's not even a ripple left where the rock went in. That's not at all what you want. You want your circles to ripple out and cause more circles that ripple out and cause more circles that ripple out, until the whole pond is affected. That's what you want, what you hope for.
"Don't get too myopic on doing just one thing for your marketing. The truth is, you need to do a lot of different things, balanced out over a week or a month for your marketing to really make sense."
After the release of Every Good & Perfect Gift and Lying on Sunday in 2008, my own social network buzz-creating efforts barely caused a ripple on our hypothetical pond. Of course, I know more about social networking now than I did then. But still, barely a ripple. So there are things I will do in the future that I didn't do the first time around, and things I did that I won't next time. For example, I won't pay someone to do a blog tour for me when my next book releases. I have enough contacts on my own to work on that myself. I will continue to increase my Facebook friends, and hopefully reach the readers among them each time I have a new release. I will try to reach as many book clubs as I possibly can, and offer to "participate" in their group discussions via Skype or telephone, unless they're close enough to personally attend. Of all the personal appearance things I do, visiting with book clubs is my favorite, probably because it's one of the more intimate ways to interact with readers. And of course, I will do my utmost to put out a novel that my readers won't be tempted to hurl across their living rooms.
So, what have you read lately that caused you to participate in word-of-mouth promotion? Let's add to each other's TBR pile. I'll start. Where the River Ends (and anything else) by Charles Martin. It's not a new book, but it gets an A++ rating from me.