After almost two years promoting my own books I’ve reached the conclusion that most of the promotion suggestions you can find on the internet are pretty irrelevant and little more than formulaic. Even worse, the things that do matter are either never mentioned or not mentioned in detail and, as I have laboriously found out, the devil really is in the detail. So I’ve decided to write a series of articles on how to promote self-published books. Here is the fourth instalment:
IV – Word of Mouth – An Urban Myth?
Ever since I’ve become a self-published author, I’ve heard people telling me that the secret to self-publishing success is “word of mouth”. If your book is good enough, and if you can somehow start that magical chain of recommendations, the whole thing will spread like a cascade of dominoes on a Guinness World Record attempt.
I accepted the advice in good faith, and started working hard to kick-start my first book by finding an initial set of sympathetic readers who would then tell their friends about my literary masterpiece. It all seemed rather intuitive and made perfect sense to me: one person likes the book, tells a couple of friends, they like the book, mention it to several other people and so on. You don’t need to be very proficient in math to see the geometric progression potential and to salivate at the promise of chart-topping sales.
As time went by, though, and I started digging into the dark arts of self-marketing and learning about the myriad details of Internet promotion, it became pretty obvious that something didn’t add up – the ratios and the processes involved were totally incompatible with the “word of mouth” scenario. In fact, with time, I became convinced that so-called “word of mouth” is nothing more than a total fantasy – one of those things that seems logical and obvious, but just isn’t. Read the rest of this entry