Friday, September 14, 2007

book pr: word of mouth builds 'legs'

Book authors should read today's Wall Street Journal article about "how a blockbuster was born" in the case of Eat, Pray, Love, a best-selling memoir that busted out in paperback after the publisher noticed it had developed unexpected sales, or 'legs,' in a limited hardcover run. The article notes:
Penguin's approach shows how publishers, which typically don't conduct market research, are becoming increasingly adept at hand-picking certain titles for stardom.
Few authors receive the kind of treatment this book did -- but you can benefit from the article's insight that "word-of-mouth publicity [is] believed by many to be the single most important factor in creating a major best seller," particularly early in the book's publication and even months later. How to create word-of-mouth? Try these tactics:
- Augment your publisher's press list. We help our author clients see how large or small the publisher's list is, and arrange to augment it so that more reporters get a release and the option to request a review copy. And we identify additional audiences that may find the book of interest, then target related media outlets. (In Eat, Pray, Love's case, its theme of spiritual seeking was determined apt for Yoga Journal, for example, even though it's not about yoga.)
- Blog about it. Author blogging's a must, both to build readership and to move your book title up in the search engines. Don't wait till your book is published, either. Early blogging can build word-of-mouth and advance orders. Make suggestions for book club discussions and get readers engaged.
- Comment on others' blogs and start a conversation. Offer to answer questions, direct people to your blog, share an insight.
- Seek your own speaking engagements. Don't wait for a tour. Tell your blog readers, networks and friends that you're avaiable, and seek out related organizations and offer to speak. Your publisher can support appearances by making sure the book is available at the meeting or in local stores.
- Use online networks to advantage. Tell your networks--from Facebook to LinkedIn--about your book, early and often. Many sites offer users the chance to share insights about their favorite books, which helps create buzz. And make sure your profile highlights your book--one author we know uses it in her "title," saying she's the "author of..." instead just "author."
We can help authors build and carry out just such a strategy. For more information, contact Denise Graveline at

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