Using Your Words and Apples to Sell Your Book

Filed under: Booksellers, Marketing, Touching the Surface

In my last post, I talked a little bit about Marketing Your Unborn Book.  Today I wanted to follow up with a similar topic.  Word of mouth.  This is very closely related to what I previously talked about.  When you make genuine connections with people, there is a good chance that those people will support you.  That’s what friends do.  It’s also what smart people do–they don’t bite the hand that feeds them.  And if you’ve been doing a good job marketing your unborn book, it means that you have invested a lot of time and energy into supporting your peers the way you would like to be cared for when it is your turn to sell a book.  The cool thing about the kid lit community is that this is a group of people who was born with the “do-for-others gene.”  They are writing to help kids for goodness sake.

So, how do we really sell our books?  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the best way is by word of mouth.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things that you can do to stack the deck in your favor.  I’m doing things like compiling lists of school librarians so that I can send them out a post card with my information on it.  It never hurts to put the effort in.  Sending out a post card is a lot more personal than hoping, wishing and praying that a librarian or a bookseller accidentally stumble upon TOUCHING THE SURFACE.  But, at the end of the day, think about who you listen to when you want a book recommendation.

I can tell you what I do…

*I watch what people I trust tweet about on twitter.  If my agent or editor recommends a book, I’m sold.  If Kiersten White, my agency sister is singing the praises of an author, I believe her.  If the kid lit community rallies around someone like Lauren Myracle, I will read that book and hand sell that puppy until someone puts a restraining order out on me.

*I ask my friends and family what they’re reading.  I trust them.

*I check out the staff recommendations at the bookstore.  These folks may or may not be my “friends” but they are talking up a book that they feel passionately about.  Yes, they are selling books, but they’re selling ALL the books in the store.  So it means something when they talk about a book that resonates with them.


That’s the truth.

I’ll leave you with a little story that shows you the true power of word of mouth…

The other day my boys and I were talking about graphic novel/cartoon characters.  Who we liked and what super powers we’d like to have.  If you have boys, you’ve probably had this conversation many times LOL!  I happened to reveal to my kids that when I was their age, I had a secret super hero identity.  I put on my dark and powerful cartoon narrator’s voice and told them…

Out of the dark regions of the universe,  comes a super crime fighting hero…Captain Apple!

They thought that this was hysterical.  They wanted to know all about Captain Apple.  I can’t remember much about how it started.  I may have been apple picking with the girl scouts or something, but for some reason I have always remembered Captain Apple.  I forgot all about our talk until a few days later, when my middle son got my attention at dinner.

Him: “Do you remember that day we were talking about Captain Apple?”

Me: “Uh huh.”  Nods in his direction while making dinner and pulling back packs apart.

Him:  “Yeah, well it’s kind of cool because all my friends are playing Captain Apple in school.”

Me: Drops stuff and gives middle child my full attention.  “What do you mean?”

Him: “I though Captain Apple was cool so I told my friends about it.  They thought it was cool too.  So we’ve been playing Captain Apple on the playground and making up our own comics.”

Me: Stands up straight and smooths hair.  “They really liked it?”

Him:  “Yeah, mom–he’s pretty cool.”

Me:  “Think you can finish dinner by yourselves boys?  I’ve got a new idea for a book that I’d like to fiddle with…”

Okay–maybe that last line wasn’t exactly true.  And yes, I will sue you if you steal my Captain Apple book idea.  You won’t though–that would make you rotten to the core.  *scribbles notes that that would make a great line in the book*  But you get the picture.  Word of mouth can sell things that aren’t even for sale…yet.  My best advice for selling your book or your future book is to go out and sell someone else’s book.  How cool is that?

And one final warning…negative news travels by mouth a gazillion times faster than good news.  It’s the pits *jots down more notes* but its a law of the universe.  So, my final recommendation for you is to remember to use your words wisely.  And get a cool cape.

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2 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. LOL! I love this post. Captain Apple has a new fan, so go write that book! 🙂

  2. Ha! You're the best, Linda!

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