Note from CJ: As you know, I’m publishing five books this year. Three down and two to go means that it’s time to run some of the most popular posts here at No Rules. Enjoy! ~CJ
Step #1: Write a Damn Good Book
Step #2: Help Your Readers Find It
Step #3: And Spread the Word to Their Friends
Ah…now we’re at the heart of any product sales strategy: Word of Mouth. It’s what makes bestsellers, builds an author’s name recognition, wins loyal readers.
How do we get those loyal readers? We earn them.
That’s right. You can’t buy loyal readers no matter how many blog tours you hop onto, how many ads you buy, what kind of publicity you get…but all those can build buzz.
To me, “buzz” is short-lived name recognition. It can be the spark that ignites the rocket or it can be a match that fizzles out in seconds.
Far better to focus instead on earning loyalty among readers who want to spread the word for you. That’s long-lived name recognition which can build a career.
What makes you want to tell friends about a book you’ve read?
Of course, it has to be a damn good book (see Step #1).
It also has to have something special, worthy of spending time and energy talking about it. That unique hook that grabs a reader and won’t let go.
This might be a compelling character or plot twist or your voice…something that makes your damn good book stand out from the crowd.
Once you hook your readers, how can you inspire these fervent fans to spread the word?
Make it easy for readers to share their experience. This is where being flexible with pricing and giving free books away can be useful.
Free and special priced books often get noticed by bloggers and other voracious readers who share the news of a “great deal on a great book” on forums. This is the main advantage of using programs like KDP Select or placing a book on a “permafree” status.
I have given away over 50,000 free books as well as sold hundreds of thousands at special sale prices. Dozens of reviews mention that this is how readers found me–and that now that they have, not only will they buy more of my books but they will also recommend my books to their friends.
I ran a special “reader appreciation sale” on my novel BLIND FAITH and thanks to my readers spreading the word, it debuted at #2 on the NYT combined print and ebook list.
Right now I’m giving my extra-special Street Team Family “We love Lucy” pins as a thank you for posting reviews and helping to spread the word on my latest Lucy Guardino FBI Thriller, KILL ZONE.
Treat your readers like family…okay, maybe even better than family.
Give them a damn good book every time, treat them with respect, show them that you appreciate the time and money they spend on your books, and they’ll stay with you for life.
Not to mention, they’ll do the heavy lifting when it comes to spreading the word for you.
But there’s one final step you need to complete your journey to success. Stay tuned for Step #4.