Word-of-Mouth Marketing (Oh, and DARKBEAST, Too)

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As you’ve probably gathered if you frequent these boards, I have a new novel coming out tomorrow.  DARKBEAST, by my pen-name Morgan Keyes, will officially be in stores on August 28.  With the challenge of promoting a new-to-me sub-genre (middle grade traditional fantasy) by a new-to-me name, I’ve been exploring all sorts of publicity and marketing options.  In fact, I hired a consultant to help me hone my word-of-mouth marketing skills.  (Okay.  I didn’t hire her.  I bartered with her — baked goods and tea for advice.  But the advice is really good — good enough to share here.)

First off, I learned the following techniques for enhancing word-of-mouth marketing:

  • Make it easy.  Make it easy for friends and family to talk about your book.  Give people short news summaries (“the book is available for pre-order!”) and ask them to do ONE easy thing.  For example, ask people to post a review online.  Or post a quick note about the book release on their Facebook page.  Or (pre-)order the book.
  • Thank people.  Express your gratitude to those who have helped you in the past.  At the same time, include a link to online sales venues — no special requests here, just make the information available so that people can easily find your book.
  • Remind people.  Within a reasonable time period, remind people about your book.  Target your reminder with specific actions, keeping the requests easy.  For example, if you’ve already told people about a book launch party, remind them of the party and ask them to bring a friend.
  • Let people advise you.  Ask people to share their own expertise.  Find out who knows what about local book groups, or school visits, or independent bookstores or whatever.  Remember to make it easy — give people your email address or prepare a computer form for them to complete.

Yeah.  How many times have I used the word “easy” in the above post?  Forget about Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Your new mantra should be Keep It Easy, Einstein — because it’s not always easy to structure things for others.  But it can be well worth your time.

After discussing various suggestions specific to Darkbeast, I confessed my greatest fear to my consultant.  I told her I did not want to alienate my audience by sending them too many items too frequently.  She nodded in agreement and provided some rules of thumb for that very real danger:

  • Keep the message short and personal in tone.  Use the “Subject” line well, so that people know what they’re getting before they open the correspondence.  For example, use the subject “Will You Bring a Friend to the Launch Party” instead of the much more generic “Update”.
  • Tailor the list of message recipients, so that you  know you’re only reaching out to people who really care.  (Are they on a listserv?  Are they on a mailing list?  Did you raid your personal contacts?)
  • Allow people to opt in to communications, using Yahoo groups, Google groups, or some other free group manager.
  • Cross-purpose your content; put your messages on your blog, Facebook page, and other places.

So.  Those are my insights for building word-of-mouth marketing.  Do you agree with these techniques?  Disagree?  Have you used these or other techniques successfully?

And will you drop a line on your own blog, Facebook page, or twitter account today, letting the world know that Darkbeast, by Morgan Keyes, will be in stores tomorrow?  People can read all about it at www.morgankeyes.com 🙂

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13 comments to Word-of-Mouth Marketing (Oh, and DARKBEAST, Too)

  • […] Darkbeast Blog Tour continues today at Magical Words, where I discuss techniques to enhance word-of-mouth […]

  • Mindy, That word of mouth cannot be beat. I can do anything in the world in terms of advertizing, but if the fans don’t get behind me, nothing is gong to happen. Not a dang thing. They control our happiness and our futures.

    And your info is going up on my FB and Twitter today!

  • Thanks Mindy. I’m terrible at this stuff so will take this to heart. It’s timely as I have 2 books out next week!

  • Mindy, I didn’t think as rationally about this stuff in advance of Thieftaker’s release as you obviously have. The one thing I did do, though, was to start talking about the book way in advance. I posted about it here — not specifically about the book, but when I wrote about writing techniques, I used Thieftaker examples and got it in people’s minds early. I think that helped. As for Darkbeast, I will post about it tomorrow on FB and Twitter, and then will look forward to hosting you at my blogs on Wednesday. Hope the release goes incredibly well.

  • deborahblake

    I agree about the easy, and it also has to be something busy people can do fast–like now, when I’ve running over to Twitter and FB to tell people about the book 🙂

  • Faith – Many thanks for posting the information! (And yes, fans. We love fans. We’ll do just about anything to keep them happy 🙂 )

    AJ – So glad that the timing coincided to help you! Good luck with your launches this week!

    David – I was in *awe* of your ability to get the word out about THIEFTAKER. Many thanks for spreading my news.

    Deb – I want everything in my life to be easy these days 🙂 Thanks for spreading the word!

  • Don’t have a lot of followers on twitter or FB yet, and definitely very few readers on my blog, but I advertised on the first two for ya. 🙂

  • Daniel – Many thanks! (It’s sort of amazing to me, how these things grow over time. Just think, some day we might have thousands of people who read our Twitter, FB, and blogs! Yeah, not in the near future, but…) 🙂

  • Pre-ordered and shared on FB & Twitter. 🙂 And thanks for the tips! Will file this under things to think about when I reach that stage. This is waaay better than (okay, this is my pet peeve) posting/tweeting about it every thirty seconds.

  • Laura – Thank you! (And yes, it’s hard to balance enthusiasm with appropriate restraint — especially when we’re in the throes of book-release-nirvana 🙂 )

  • Thanks for sharing the advice and good luck with your book!

  • jqtrotter – Many thanks for the good wishes!

  • wrybread

    @Laura: Yes, that gets to me too as well, especially when a writer’s Twitter consists entirely of them just saying “Get my (e)book(s) here on special!” without really explaining what the book is or who they are as writers. They’d be better off using that space to share their personalities and writing style without directly flogging their books. Once I know and like someone and their written presence on Twitter, I’ll be much more likely to buy their books.