Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Word of Mouth -- From Guest Blogger Catherine McKenzie

Last week, Kathleen briefly mentioned Author Effect in her post. This week, GotYA is thrilled to have the author behind the project, Catherine McKenzie, as a guest blogger.


Word of mouth. That’s really all that marketing is, right? Just some people are better at it than others, and some people have more money, and some people have more access to mediums to get the words out of their mouths. So how does word of mouth work in today’s book marketing market? There’s the traditional way, of course. Big publisher prints a zillion copies of the book, gets other established authors to write blurbs about how fabulous it is, they buy shelf space in stores and advertisements in national newspapers and if the stars align you have a bestseller! Of course that formula isn’t a guarantee. And being published by a big publisher isn’t even a guarantee you’ll get that word of mouth treatment. Nope. In fact, most authors don’t. So what do they do?

Well, a lot of what they tell you to do these days involves social media. Get people blogging and Facebooking and Twittering about your book and you just might generate that word of mouth. But does it work? Really? Having just published my first novel, I wasn’t so sure. I know that I’ve certainly sold some copies of my book because I’ve spent many hours (too many) on these media. But I remain convinced that the main reason my book did well was because my publisher made sure my book was available and prominently placed in the national book chain.

But what about the others? My compatriots in the author business who’ve written great books but weren’t lucky enough to get the kind of placement I did in stores? What happens to them? And can something be done about it?

I’ve wondered this for a while and then I saw Betty White host Saturday Night Live. Because of a Facebook campaign. Mmmm.

A couple of days later I had started I group on Facebook called “I bet we can make these books bestsellers” (or the Author Effect for short) and had chosen two books by Wyoming writer Shawn Klomparens (Jessica Z. and Two Years, No Rain) as my test subjects. Why? Because they were the best books I’d read in the last six months that you probably haven’t heard of. But you should. And you should read them too. Because that’s what my group is all about. Sure, I’m happy to have members (over 600 of them so far – yeah!), but I’m hoping they do more. I’m hoping they actually buy the books and tell me – and the group – what they think about them. And because I’m not so full of myself that I think you should buy these books just because I say so (well, not entirely), I’ve gotten a bunch of book bloggers involved to review the books and tell us what they think too.

There’s been lots of positive reaction so far – I’ve gotten a lot of “what a great idea” messages. And I’d also say that about 10% of the group have actually purchased one or both of the books, which is pretty damn good. But not good enough for me. So, will you help me get the word out? And hey, while you’re at it, buy the books too. Because I – and some others – say so :)


Facebook Group
Shawn Klomparen’s Website
Catherine McKenzie's Website

About Catherine

Spin is Catherine McKenzie's first published novel. Her second novel, ARRANGED, will be published in Canada in January, 2011. She lives and writes in Montreal, Canada.


Debra Driza said...

Oh my gosh--I've actually heard of Jessica Z! I think Shawn followed me on twitter and her DM was so nice, I took a peek at her website and book description--which looked really cool! I'm planning on picking it up next time I order books. :)

Thanks so much for guest blogging, Catherine, and for setting it up, Kath--this was really fascinating!

Kathleen said...

Catherine, Thanks again. Fantastic post and we were all thrilled to have you as a guest!

Deb, I'm planning on picking it up too. I was especially interested when Catherine mentioned the placement of Spin. That's totally how I knew who she was without having to think about it or double check. The bookstore near my office had Spin very prominently displayed and I was attracted by the gorgeous cover.

Hmath said...

Awesome idea - now I'll have to go do that Facebook page w/ you guys :)

J.S. Wood said...

Great post! Thanks for blogging with us, Catherine!

Leah said...

Oh, I have heard of Jessica Z, but haven't had the opportunity to read it. It's always one I pass when I'm doing the browse-only trip to Borders cause broke college student and all, but it looked like a great read.

Fantastic post, Catherine!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the opportunity guys & I hope you do pick up the books! FYI - Shawn is a man :)

Catherine McKenzie

Debra Driza said...

Ahaha, had no clue! I had a friend in school and her name was Shawn with a "w", so I just assumed! :D Thanks!

Jill Wheeler said...

Great idea! I'll definitely be looking up those titles!

Annie McElfresh said...

Great Post Catherine!!