BLOG

The Power of a Reader's Word of Mouth

Thursday, January 24, 2013

By Jody Hedlund, @JodyHedlund

Think for a few minutes about the kinds of things that make you want to pick up a book and read it.

Most of the time we read a book because it's by an author we already know and love.

Sometimes a cover might attract us to take a closer look, particularly if we're browsing in a brick-and-mortar store.

But I'm guessing the large majority of us discover books based on word of mouth. The word-of-mouth process usually goes something like this:

We hear someone mention a book, perhaps in passing. We don't really give it much thought, after all we already have plenty of books clamoring for our over-loaded attention.

But interestingly, the next day while scrolling through our Facebook home page, the book pops up again. Someone else exclaims how much they enjoyed the book, enough to stay up into the wee hours of the morning to finish it.

Even though our interest is definitely perked at this point, it will likely take another time or two of "hearing" someone talk about the book (perhaps on twitter or a blog review or seeing it on a friend's shelf on GoodReads).

Finally, after a handful of times we "hear" about the book, we decide that we need to check it out for ourselves. We head to the online reviews, browse through them, and then decide if it's one we'd like to purchase or one we'd like to try out from the library first.

Does the above scenario ring true for you? It's usually my process for finding a new book to read.

All that to say, WORD OF MOUTH plays a pivotal, powerful, and persuasive role in the life and success of a book.

Of course, when an AUTHOR toots her own horn, the noise usually falls on deaf ears. Most people don't trust what an author (or the author's writer friends) say about a book, because obviously they're going to say super nice things even if the book was just okay.

But when a READER offers genuine praise, then people sit up and take notice, particularly when multiple readers are saying the same thing.

I often don't think readers understand the amount of power they hold over the success or failure of a book. Before I became an author, I didn't realize the difference I could make with my recommendations and praise of books. But now that I do, I embrace the challenge with enthusiasm. And with caution, because I realize the power of my words.

The great thing about WORD OF MOUTH promotion is that it's usually fairly quick and easy to do. It doesn't require a huge time commitment or investment of energy.

In fact, here are five simple things we can do to spread the word about a book we loved:

1. Mention the book on Facebook and/or Twitter. Try to be specific about something you liked about the book. Provide the link to the author's website or to an online bookstore.

2. Pin the book cover on Pinterest. Create a "Favorite Books" or "Books I've Read Recently" board. Again, make sure to link the pin to the author's website or a bookstore.

3. Email friends and/or family about the book. Include what you liked and why you think they might enjoy it.

4. Personally tell friends and/or family about the book. In fact, be willing to pass along your copy and encourage them to do the same when they're done.

5. Leave a review on one of the online review sites, preferably more than one place. Copying and pasting your review from one site to another is perfectly okay!

If you think you'd be willing to spread the word about my next release, A Noble Groom (a Christian historical romance), please let me know. I'm currently collecting a list of Influencers who would be willing to help with promotion in exchange for a free advanced copy of the book. I'll be primarily asking Influencers to commit to sharing about the book through word of mouth.

If you'd like to find out more about the book, please check out my Books Page. And if you'd like more information about being an Influencer or to sign up, please email me at: jodyhedlund@jodyhedlund.com or use the email box on my Contact Page.


So, dear readers, what influences YOU the most in the books you choose to read? Is it word of mouth or something else?


34 comments:

  1. Jody, I couldnl't agree with you more about word of mouth. The reason my self-published debut thriller, BABY GRAND, has done as well as it has is because readers are spreading the word. They're Facebooking about it, tweeting about it, blogging about it, reviewing it on Goodreads. It's like that old shampoo commercial -- they tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on. It has been amazing and exciting to watch. I am so, so thankful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats on the success of your debut book, Dina! That's exciting to hear! Just shows the power of word of mouth!

      Delete
  2. I agree with you about book reviews. I hesitate to post aone that criticizes the work because of the damage it could do. Then I wonder what use any of them could be if we only say what we like and not what we don't like.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don't ignore your church library. If you want a book, ask for it. Example: Because I'm a writer, I was asked to work in the church library on Wednesday nights. The librarian wanted input on which fiction would be good to add to the shelves. A few months ago we ordered Unending Devotion. Last night one of our members brought back the book and requested the librarian order The Preacher's Bride and The Doctor's Lady. They're on the order list. :-) (Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to check out Unending Devotion yet. It hasn't stayed on the shelf long enough.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point, Sandra!! And how VERY cool to hear that your church librarian is ordering my other books! Hope they will all be well received! :-)

      Delete
  4. I should probably be better, as a reader, to tout books I enjoy. I do so on Goodreads and rarely on Twitter. I agree, authors who constantly shout their own book and praise may do more harm than good. I may have to break down and get on Pinterest.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Something I've started doing recently is putting in requests to my local library to order books by my favorite authors. Just yesterday I put in a request for them to order your new book coming out in the spring, A Noble Groom. Really hope they get it! (Most of the time they do)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I do that too. :-)

      Delete
  6. Absolutely! Speak up when you love a book. Nicest thing you can do for an author! Let the whole world know!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. 'So, dear readers, what influences YOU the most in the books you choose to read? Is it word of mouth or something else?'

    I'm currently reading a book that I found out about on someone's blog. Word of mouth. But, just like you said, I chose to read a book for various other reasons too, the cover, the author, the interesting opening line, the back cover...
    Also, at times, if I'm interested in a book - or am reading it- I don't read reviews. I don't read the reviews of a book I'm reading because the thoughts of that reader might influence my opinion on the book. And at times, I won't read reviews about a book I'm interested to read because I get the impression that if I read them, I might end up not reading the book....just a feeling.
    BUT I do agree that reviews are very important. I read a good number of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not just a feeling... at times it's because I've scrolled through the reviews and seen more negative than positive ones. (Hopefully what I said makes sense..)

      Delete
  8. I let people know when I enjoy a book. I will 99% of the time review it on my blog. I also review it on Goodreads. Sometimes Facebook & Twitter. Then there are the ones I'm just actually TELLING everyone that they need to read. When I pin it to pintrest, I typically will pin the link to my review on my blog. I may want to start pinning it to the author's website.

    I recently texted a friend of mine to tell her about this one book, and that it was free on the Kindle. We carried on a text conversation for about 10 minutes and I know she downloaded that book, and maybe the others by that author. (I'm not naming titles or author because it was not a Christian book and got a little steamy in spots).

    I frequently will loan out my paperback copies of books. I'm picky to who I loan them to as I want them back. So it's usually my mom, my cousin, my best friend, or someone from church. There are some books that I will refuse to loan out, no matter how much I talk the book up. My Harry Potter books are some of those.

    Jody, I would love to be an influence for Noble Groom. I have a blog where I would be thrilled to review it. I'd also be willing to talk it up on FB, Twitter, etc. Here's my email address. dawn(dot)janis(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh, I would LOVE to be an influencer for your next book! I've read the last few and love the way you are so detailed and specific about the time period, yet your female leads are strong, creative women - not like the swooning, fashion-crazy women I've seen in other books. Yours definitely stand out!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Word of mouth is HUGE, it can make or break a book. I sent a message about being an influencer for your book, but even if you can't take everyone, I'll still help spread the word. Love your books!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've been reading hundreds of books on my Kindle. The best way I've been introduced to authors has been when a Kindle edition comes up as a "free" or "deal" on the pages or apps I follow. If it's rated as a good one or sounds good on the Amazon website, I grab it. Once I love a book I look up the author, additional books, etc...I either purchase the Kindle or ebooks or reserve from the library. I'm so happy I was able to read the Preacher's Bride by Jody for free. I absolutely love her books and writing style.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'd be honored to be an Influencer! I'll email you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. You'll see A Noble Groom is already on my Riffle list of books I'm waiting to release...
    https://read.rifflebooks.com/list/27679

    I'd love an opportunity to be an influencer. I post reviews on my blog (www.christianreads.blogspot.com), Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Goodreads, Christian Book, Koorong.com.au, link to reviews via Facebook, and pin to Pinterest and Riffle.

    Interestingly, Rachelle Gardner had a similar post today. She also mentioned posting quotes to Twitter and Facebook, which is an idea I hadn't thought of. I often highlight interesting quotes as I'm reading on Kindle, but then don't do anything with them, so this is a good idea.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iola, I'm not sure if you emailed me! I don't remember seeing your name come through in an email yesterday. But I had quite a few and I may have missed it.

      Delete
  14. I totally agree... especially about the part of readers not knowing the power they hold. I know when I was a reader, that I was an integral part of how that author was going to "do" with a book I enjoyed didn't really even filter through my brain. I'd recommend books occassionally, and those only my SUPER SUPER favorite.

    I find it hard lately, because I have SO SO SO SO SO many author friends, that I fear promoting one book will "hurt" someone elses feelings if I don't promote theirs. And I don't want to flood my own Facebook/twitter with "read this, read that" notes that end up annoying people. So I've realized lately that I've promoted TOO LITTLE, and I need to find that happy medium.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, and that said... you know I love a good Jody book and spread the word quite a bit about your books!!! I'll buy my own copy though to add to my growing Jody Hedlund collection!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Krista! You're a dear! And I hear you on finding it hard to shout out the news about everyone! With the changing nature of publishing and ease of self-publishing, so many more of my writer friends have books out there. And I can't keep up with everyone. Part of the trouble for me is having the time to read all those books by various friends. If I DO read one of their books and enjoy it, I'm super willing to shout out the news. But since I have limited reading time, I just can't read everything all my friends are publishing.

      Delete
  16. I read two books by an author that one of my favorite authors strongly recommended to her fans; I thought that this other author would be good, too. I didn't like the first book, and I disliked the second book even more. So I guess that sometimes people's opinions are just different. On the other hand, I do read online reviews on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble; it helps me to decide whether or not to buy something when a lot of people are saying the same things about a book.

    ReplyDelete
  17. All such fabulous points :-)
    If your publisher is willing to post internationally, I'd LOVE a copy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Jessica, I'm so sorry!! They only do US and Canadian addresses! But You are SO sweet for offering! :-)

      Delete
  18. Yep, absolutely. Unless the cover blurb of a book grabs me right there and then or I've gotten to know the author in some way (usually online) then it's word of mouth all the way. That way I can find out what elements of a story stood out to readers, things which the author might not even realise would be a selling-point for me.

    For example, in the Dresden Files, one of my favourite characters is a dog. I love dogs, and the fact that Harry gets a more-than-ordinary dog who is one of the most badass characters in the series is awesome.

    That said, I've been disappointed enough times with the flat "this book is great, you have to read it," that I blank over whenever that's the only thing someone can say. I want to know why a book is great.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hey everyone!! If you want to sign up to influence for my next release, make sure to send me an EMAIL. I think most of you have, but I don't want to leave anyone out who is interested!

    ReplyDelete
  20. This post describes me! When I love a book, I can't shut up about it! I love that there are so many places to discuss books online now. Yay! (I already signed up to be an influencer. I LOVE your books!)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Okay, cool, real life story about word of mouth and books. A couple years back, I lent my mom a copy of a book I had and loved. (I'd actually gotten it for free from the author, so no sales made).

    My mom went home, read it, loved it, took it to the dentist office where she works and passed it on to ALL FOUR of her coworkers. Even the woman who doesn't usually read inspirational books loved it!

    Then my mom went out and bought the other two books in the series, and she's kept up with the author ever since. Buying every new book that comes out.

    So yeah, word of mouth works. And Jody, I totally need to give my librarian the info about Unending Devotion and Noble Groom. They're always looking for Michigan set books and even have a sticker they put on those books that says "Set in Michigan". I know readers would love them. Hopefully I'll remember the next time I stop by, (and the kids will be quiet enough I can actually have a conversation with him).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOVE the true life word of mouth story, Naomi! Thanks for sharing it! It's really cool to see it in action! :-) And I would LOVE for you to let your library know about my books! That would be wonderful!

      Delete
  22. I wish our readers understood how powerful they are. I hate to bug people who've read & liked my book to mention it on their own FB or to post reviews. It almost seems as bad as self-promotion. But I was thrilled when my niece posted a link on her FB account and 3 of her friends said they were going to buy it! Now if only I could get all my FB friends to do that.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I saw your book in my library in TN, Jody! Good job on the word of mouth! It is so encouraging to see writers doing it right, so I can learn from them before the release of my own book, The Outcast. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very cool, Jolina! Love it! And I'm glad I can pave the road a little bit as you get ready and excited for the release of your new book! =)

      Delete
  24. Although snoring mouthpieces can serve you on a long term basis, it is still a given reality that this product might not last foreverstop snoring mouthpiece

    ReplyDelete

© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!