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In this episode of the Novel Marketing podcast, we’re going to talk about what has been consistently cited as the number one way to sell books … Word of Mouth.  


You’ve heard that, yes? Studies have shown that Word of Mouth sells more books than any other marketing method by far … but today we’re going to turn that idea on its head, well, at least on its side. Here’s how: We’re going to talk about why word of mouth is not helping your sales.


First we’ll talk the good about Word of Mouth, then the bad, then the downright hideous … So Thomas, get us started. What’s the good part of Word of Mouth?


The Good:

  • Highest credibility form of marketing
  • Cheap
  • It snowballs
  • When it works, it works very well.


The Bad

  • People live in bubbles. This limits the spread of ideas from Bubble to bubble.
    1. For example, the average number of friends people have on Facebook is 338.
  • Word of Mouth tends to only kick in after you already don’t need it.
  • Relying on “Word of Mouth” can be an excuse for laziness.
  • There are so many books out there these days, it’s harder than ever to be the book everyone is talking about
  • Word of Mouth primarily benefits the very best books. People don’t talk about every book they read. And most people don’t ask “what’s on your bookshelf”?
  • Word of Mouth is Hard to measure. Who is talking about you? Who is listening? There is no way to know.
  • You don’t control it, if it doesn’t work, there is nothing you can do.


The Hideous

  • People self censor and your book may never come up.
  • Some non-fiction books just don’t qualify for Word of Mouth
  • People might worry that their taste is wrong. Have you ever recommended a TV and had people say “Ugh.”?
  • How many times have you recommended a great book to a close friend? How many times to an acquaintance? Most people don’t have that many close friends.


Bottom Line: You can’t rely on Word of Mouth to sell your books.


Now a bit of good news … next episode, we’re going to talk about how you CAN use Word of Mouth … how you can make it work for you.



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