“They say 90% of the promotion of a book comes through word of mouth. But you’ve somehow got to get your book into the hands of those mouths first!” —Claudia Osmond, author
This quote sums up the struggle all authors and publishers face. The first step is getting your books into the hands of people who would love to talk about them. The next step is amplifying those word-of-mouth messages.
The more people talking about your books, the more noise they make. When noise is generated, other readers take notice. Sadly, if you have not yet developed a large following of readers, the noise your reader’s word-of-mouth makes may be more like a whisper.
Your challenge is to take that whisper and amplify it so that it becomes louder so more people can hear it. This is where the strategy of engaging your readers to help you market your book comes into play. As an author, you can engage your readers in your marketing efforts in the following three ways.
1. Feature testimonials.
Readers that enjoy or benefit from your book will sometimes write a review, share a thought with you, or even give you a testimonial on how your book has helped them. Post these reviews, thoughts, and testimonials on your website, share them across your social media platforms, and use them in your marketing materials. They are gold.
2. Elicit feedback.
One great way to engage your readers is to ask them for feedback. You can use opinion polls to ask your readers and fans which one of two characters in your book they liked better, which of two pieces of advice helped them the most, etc.
Once you have responses to your quiz, then use the responses to magnify your readers’ word-of-mouth further. Post the quiz results on your blog and social media sites. Spread the news about what readers are saying about your book based on your quiz.
3. Leverage social proof.
“Social proof” is a term that refers to the phenomenon that people assume that others possess more knowledge about a situation or product than they do. Thus, individuals look at what other people are doing or saying to help them decide how they will act.
You can leverage social proof by using reach marketing. Reach marketing is where your followers spread your message to their followers on social media and thus exponentially expand the reach or your message. You can use a service like Pay with a Tweet to offer content or a discount to readers in exchange for a social media post about the content or discount.
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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio.