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Monday, September 6, 2010

Viral Marketing

Viral Marketing

John Kremer is one of the best-known authorities for promoting book sales. He tends to think “out of the box,” as anyone who has read his 1001 Ways to Market Your Books will tell you.

One interesting tactic he promotes is the theory of Viral Marketing. Kremer argues that as more people read your book, more people will talk about it and pass it on. I’m not quite sure about this, at least unless you have many titles, since once a person has a copy of your book and reads it he’s probably not going to get it again unless maybe for a gift. If you the author don’t have anything else to sell to him, then the relationship is over. There IS a role for giving books away, say for endorsements (ARCs), book reviews (ARCs), or prizes, but for what my experience is worth I saw a lot of my *free* books being sold on amazon (used and new option) or ebay. I didn’t see consequent increases in sales even though my book was supposedly getting to more people.

But that’s just me.

I wonder if a happy medium might be to offer a few chapters for free, and if the reader likes the book he can read more. Kindle already does this automatically, but it might not be a bad policy for e-books in general. Of course the sample chapters should contain valuable information, or else the person may decide it’s just not worth purchasing more of this drivel.

For anyone who is interested in viral marketing, Kremer has set up two web sites offering free e-books for fiction and nonfiction. I’d love to hear what you think of this!

1 comment:

Kat Heckenbach said...

This is one of those things I'm on the fence about. I can see the logic--make it free, get the word out. It's easy with ebooks to do that, too. But you're right--how many people are truly going to run around telling everyone they know about it? And, what, they say, "Hey, I got this ebook for free. It's awesome. Now you can get it too, for $9.99." Most people will only go after the book if they can get it free TOO.

I think it works well as a promotion for the bigger names. Free ebook version! Of a book most people will buy in print anyway, or a book they've already got in print.

Still, if no one knows who you are, and they can't at least get a sample of your writing, then you're never going to get out of the starting gate.

I love that you post all this marketing stuff, Amy :). Gives me a lot to think about!