Word of Mouth Marketing Doesn’t Work

So much for not using social media to sell my books.

A few months ago I wrote a blog post title Social Media Won’t Sell My Books. I wrote it because I was getting sick and tired of people posting links to their books on twitter and telling me: buy my book. You can read the blog here.

Anyway, point is, I decided with my next book launch to do the soft sell to start. I published in early May and posted an announcement to my website blog and waited to see who on the RSS feed was paying attention. I told my friends in book club and other social venues, while sipping on a glass of Côtes du Rhône, “Hey, the sequel in my trilogy is out.”

“Fabulous,” people replied.

And I sold zero books. And I waited. My father put in a pre-order on Kindle. And I waited. For a couple of weeks I had no ranking on Amazon because nothing had sold. Then my secretary bought a book. I think I got to 1.2 million on the charts. And I waited.

The History Author Show host who interviewed me about my first book in the trilogy tweeted the link to our interview from months ago and I messaged him back telling him my second book was out.

“Fantastic!” he said.

“I’ll send you a signed copy,” I replied.

And no books sold. I waited.

An actor named Eric Rolland who portrays Doc Durant on the upcoming AMC tv docu-drama called The American West, direct messaged me on twitter.

“I’ve been following your blog to learn more about my character.”

“Terrific!” I replied. “I’m glad someone is benefiting from my research about the Durant family.”

Doc Durant

I told my friends on Facebook that a famous actor was reading my blog. I told my family, my neighbor, and my cat.

And no more books sold. I waited.

This was me trying to prove a point of course, that my previous blog post was correct and I needn’t rely on social media to sell my book. No, word of mouth advertising is superior and anyway, if my fans were paying attention, they’d know my book was out and they’d be racing to Amazon or Barnes and Noble websites to buy it. I mean, isn’t this how Diana Gibaldon got so big with her Outlander series?

I waited for the word of mouth magic to happen. And it didn’t.

Then yesterday, out of the blue, about 13 of my books sold and I hadn’t posted anything to my social media — been too busy grading student papers. There was also a spike on my website order page. So who told somebody about it? I went to twitter for my usual round of news and there was a notification that Books By Women who I’ve guest blogged for, had posted a link to their virtual library, and my book, Castles in the Air, was on it.

So social media does work then? I logged into Hootsuite and scheduled posts to my social media account. I headed over to Google Plus and the numerous communities I follow and let them all know: MY BOOK IS OUT! Next is an email to my fan-base.

Nothing like a few sales to break the resolve.