Monday, August 13, 2007

Word of Mouth

I have often heard professionals in the publishing industry say that word of mouth publicity is often worth more than any other kind you could pay for. I used to be skeptical about that because I have a rather small social circle. Plus, in comparison to the number of sales we'd all like to have (*laugh*) the amount of people you could reach by word of mouth seemed pitifully small.

However, the last few weeks have shown me just how powerful word of mouth could potentially be . . . albeit on a very, very small scale.

In my church group we have a class for women above eighteen and as we open the meeting we have the "Good News Minute." Several weeks ago I announced that I had finished the final draft of my new book. I had an older lady (about seventy) come up to me and ask how she could get a hold of my book to read it. I told her that it wasn't anywhere near published, but that she could read my copy if she wanted to. So I brought it to her the next week.

The week after that she told me how much she'd enjoyed the book and that she'd passed it on to one of the other ladies and was that okay? I was fine with that. So then a man in our church group (I have no idea how he found out) told me his wife wanted to read it and could she be on the waiting list? On top of that, the mother of one of my beta readers confessed that she hadn't let her daughter take her copy back until she'd read it too.

Now, bear in mind, I didn't tell anyone what this book was about or anything. After the initial request from the elderly woman, everyone has heard reviews from someone other than me. Four people may not seem like very much, but it has been only in the last few weeks, with people I only see once a week, and with absolutely no effort on my part. If I was actually trying to promote my book, I imagine the results would increase exponentially. And if there was publicity running alongside it, I can see how it really would be very effective.

And, of course, the modern word of mouth is word of blog.:) So I guess I'm doing some of that too.:)



David L. McAfee said...

That is pretty cool, April. :) The same thing happened to me with one of my wife's friends from work. Heather (my wife) told this other woman I'd written a book about vampires. She asked to read it. I said sure...

Fast forward to about 2 weeks later. Heather's friend apparently couldn't stop talking about the book. next thing you know I have emails from people I've never met asking if they can read it.

No effort on my part whatsoever. :)

Doncha love it?

John Elder Robison said...

Word of mouth is a powerful force, and with the blogs, it can move faster than ever.

Michelle Zink said...

When I think about all the books I've read and really loved, I realize that most of them were recommended to me by someone else.

It must be really cool to see such positive word-of-mouth effects already!

ORION said...

I think my book LOTTERY is a great example of word of mouth.
This is really the only way debut novels can be successful.
You are finding out how powerful it is even at this stage.
very cool

Demon Hunter said...

Word of mouth is ALWAYS very helpful, Aprilynne. The person you know, knows other people, and so on. It works! I cannot wait until you're published--and myself as well! :*)

Vic Burton said...

Yep. Never underestimate word of mouth. My family ran a restaurant for years and in that business word of mouth can make you or break you. Sounds like you have a good thing going.

A.M. Wildman from AW

moonrat said...

It's true--PW says 86% of books are bought by women, and that most women buy books almost exclusively based on recommendations from friends and family.

(ok, so i fudged the statistics a little bit. but it MEANS the same thing.)