Tuesday, July 31

The Power of Persuasion

If you already have a book published, you might have already asked this question: How do I get people to buy my books? The answer is simple: Word of mouth!

It really does't matter if you are self-published or otherwise, the process of selling a book is still the same--you need to talk about your book in order for people to start buying it. That's why getting reviews from professional reviewers is one very important step before your book is released. Traditional houses invest a lot of money in the publicity and marketing efforts of any single title they acquire. They print posters, design awesome covers, schedule events, and hire a group of people to tweet and talk about your book online. On top of that, these publishers have a list of reviewers--from Publishers Weekly to New York Times--to whom they send advance reading copies (ARCs) three to six months prior to the book's publication date. All these efforts are set in place for one specific reason: to generate lots of buzz and talk about the book. Because the pundits know what makes a book a bestseller: the power of persuasion.

No matter how you see it, when readers discuss your book, talk about it, rave about it, love it, hate it, blog about it, etc., they are actually indirectly persuading people to agree with their points of view and stand on their side. This, in turn, draws attention to your book, and when people are curious, they usually want a copy for themselves. The process of persuading people to check out your book doesn't have to be argumentative or remotely persuasive. All you need to do is the following:

Creating a buzz is not just announcing your book. It's creating a discussion between you and your readers regarding the issues in your book. If you are writing about dragons and warlords, then you may want to talk about how dragons are actually mythical creatures based on real animals, and how man's need for deity and legends define the dragons we know of today. Of course, I am just giving one example of the many topics you can discuss. Touch on social issues. It is always a good idea to tie the themes of your book to contemporary issues and subjects. Once you spark a conversation, the crowd will come. 

One other way to have people talk about your book is to thank everyone who's read your book and encourage them to share it with others. When you have a good number of followers, you'd be surprised how words can spread. The Hunger Games actually sat on the shelf for about a year before things started to warm up. And it didn't really pick up until a small group of fans started talking about it. No, they didn't just talk about it, they were persuading their classmates and families that it was the best book in the world. And that was how the book went on to becoming a NYT bestselling sensation.

The shameless self-promoter (that all writers should be), must not only talk about his book, but also himself. Switch subjects once in a while and start a conversation about how you fell into the drain while texting the other day. Get people to love you for who you are. Be personable and don't build a wall of hoity-toity superficiality just because you are an author. Yes, be professional, but at the same time, be you. Readers love to connect, and they love to be connected. And once you find that connection, you'd be surprised how many people will go out and buy your book just because they love you first. 

One thing every author needs to know when it comes to the power of persuasion is this: it is not you who holds court, but your readers. The power of persuasion does not come from you, but from the people who've read and participated in your discussions. They are the ones who will ultimately be your salesmen. All you need to do is to write an awesome book and start a dialogue. And if you do it right, your book will be selling like hotcakes!


David P. King said...

Word of mouth is pretty much the success story of The Hunger Games, if I'm not mistaken. Can be a often is a most powerful asset. :)

Teri Harman said...

You speak very wise truth! Thanks for the advice.

Christopher Loke said...

Yes, word of mouth is the most powerful marketing tool there is. So use it wisely and efficiently. Let the buzz begin :)