By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief, Southern Writers Magazine
Word of mouth is always one of the best ways to gain fans.
Take the word –sell– out of your vocabulary for now, relax.
You’re not going to die tomorrow if you don’t sell a book today.
Focus on building your fan base.
How many times have we heard the phrase know your audience?
If you are like me, I hear it constantly, whether at a conference, in a workshop or in a meeting.
In theory, we all wish everyone was our audience, but in reality, we know that isn’t true. Example…I may like a red blouse and you like the blue blouse.
One of the things I like to do is ask some of my friends if they would read four or five pages of my first chapter. I tell them I would like their opinion on who they think would be interested in reading this type of book. Notice, I did not ask them if they would tell me if they liked it, nor did I ask if they would catch my errors, proof or anything else, I just wanted their opinion.
Why do I want their opinion? Because everyone has an opinion. And, human nature, in each of us, likes to give our opinions. After they give me their opinion if they haven’t told me, I ask where they think some of these people could be found. Like particular groups on the Internet or organizations. By asking specific questions, my friends can give me valuable information that I can use to get my book in front of the right people. You see, normally, you will get several different answers from you friends…giving you many places to research for your book.
This works very well when you are in the process of writing. However, if you have already written your book and it is published, then print off those four or five pages from your finished manuscript and give to them. Don’t give them a book yet. If they come back and tell you they loved what you wrote then sign your book, and give them a copy. Now, when you do this, tell them you would be interested, after they read the book, what their thoughts were, what questions they might have pertaining to the characters, settings, scenes, and plot. You want them to bond with you and your book. If they do, they are going to suggest this book to some of their family and friends. Because once they’ve read your book, and talked with you about their questions and you’ve answered them, then you can ask, “Would you send out an email to ten of your friends and tell them about the book, and what you thought about the characters. Would you mention to them some of the things that you feel would peak their interest in the book. Would you recommend it to them?
At this point, a friend is going to do this. They are in your corner.
After they tell ten friends, ask them if they would put a review on Amazon about the book.
If you are going to write another book and this is a series, what a wonderful opportunity to involve your friends.
People like to help other in general, and I friends
will always be willing to help us if they like what you wrote.