Author, Robison Wells suggested that writers must deal with three types of people – Lovers, Haters and Swingers. The lovers love your work or your genre. The haters hate your work or your genre. And the swingers could go either way. He suggested that authors spend too much time stressing over the haters and trying to convince them that their work is good. Instead, the authors should spend more time marketing to those who could be swayed.
I’ve never been brave enough to spend any effort on the haters. If someone hates my work, I usually stick my head in the sand and pray they go away. But, I do have the audacity to believe that if a fiction-lover would just read one of my novels, they’d immediately transform into a die-hard fan.
Because I’m filled with this wide-eyed optimism (which you can blame on my two favorite editors for feeding this praise-junkie’s ego), I’m conducting a viral marketing campaign that is working well for me. I’m sharing it here, for two reasons:
- In hopes that it will be useful to those of you who are authors. Perhaps you can adapt the idea for your own use; and
- In hopes you will actually step through the marketing process I’m going to share, read the Christmas book I’m giving away, and turn into a devoted fan. If you turn into a “hater,” I don’t want to know about it!
Okay, here’s how it works. I’m giving away an ebook version of my short Christmas novel “Miss Humbug”. If you go to that link, you’ll see a form that you put your name and email address into and the system will send you information on how to get your free copy of the ebook. The next page that comes up, tells you how to get a free audio version of Miss Humbug to listen to on your ipod or computer.
To get the audio version, all you have to do is tell three friends about the site. Once you fill out the tell-a-friend form, you’ll get both the ebook version and the audio version.
Do you see the viral nature of this?
For example, Kerry Blair came in last month and got her copy, then she told three friends. All three friends came and got their copies. One of those friends was Jeri Gilchrist. Jeri told three people and at least one of her friends (that I noticed) came in and got her ebook.
Bottom line, I’m quickly building a list of people
- who I can contact about the print version of the book;
- who I can contact again when I have something new; and
- who have actually read something I’ve written. After all, once they do, they’re going to be life-long fans – right?
If nothing else, I feel like I’m spreading a good message which the world needs — the true meaning of Christmas.
It’s yet to be seen how many people will actually purchase the book in paperback, but for me, that’s just icing. I assume some people would much rather have something they can hold in their hands and easily give as a gift or stocking-stuffer. Even the paperback version pulls people back into the viral system. The page right after the last chapter encourages them to spread the spirit of Christmas by telling three friends and claiming their free audio version.
Oh, and one more thing I’m doing to spread the word about the site (besides articles and blogs) is allowing other authors or newsletter publishers to give the ebook away to their lists. I give them a block of code they can put on their site so people can download it directly from their site. For details on that go to http://www.misshumbug.com/giveawaybook.php
The list-owner simply directs their subscribers to that page, and it looks like they are the ones giving away the ebook. It’s a great way for them to bring visitors to their site. Even if the person isn’t interested in the ebook, they’ll probably click around on the list-owner’s site and see what else is there. It’s a win-win-win for the list-owner, for the reader, and for me.
So to summarize this viral marketing method so you can use it too . . .
- Build your list by giving away a sample of your work. I’ve seen people give away the first 10 chapters of a book instead of the whole book if that works better for you.
- Before you give the subscriber the download link, ask them to tell three friends about your offer. Give them an incentive to do so – some added bonus you know they will want. (At the bottom of this page be sure to allow them to opt out of telling friends and just go claim their ebook.)
- The tell-a-friend script should direct their friends back to your site so that they can get their free ebook and tell their friends.
- If you decide to put the give-away book into print, be sure it refers readers back to your site to pull them into the viral loop.
- That’s it! I hope you’ll try it and have fun with it!