Years ago, my wife and I bought our house in Maryland. Our real estate agent was a man whom we’d met at a house sale elsewhere, and we liked him so much that we’d asked him to represent us; with his help, we found a great house, and have been more than satisfied with it to this day.
One day, a few months later, we chanced upon him, and after mutual greetings, he said to us: “I’m sorry you have no friends.” It took us a second to realize he was sarcastically referring to his hope that we would have recommended him to our friends in the market for new homes, thereby bringing him fresh business. We didn’t take it personally, of course—and at the time, we didn’t happen to know anyone who was house-hunting, so we couldn’t have helped even if we’d wanted to—but the point was taken.
Fast-forward to years later, and I find myself trying to sell novels in this hard-to-penetrate entertainment market. Although I’ve tried many things to promote my novels, one of the most oft-repeated comments I’ve heard from writers and readers is that only one method of promotion is really effective in this day and age: Word of mouth.
And suddenly I find myself reflecting on my real estate agent, and his comment to me. When I started writing, I’d hoped that I could generate enough word of mouth to get my sales going, and growing, steadily over time. Alas, this didn’t happen. So I’m making a renewed effort to try to get word of mouth going… and naturally, this is where you come in. But instead of sarcastic remarks, I’m hoping a clear and honest suggestion will work better.
Though I will try to hit numerous venues, I’m hoping that you, my customers, will chip in. I’m asking you to mention me to your SF-reading friends. I’m asking you to go to the book retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords and their affiliates, as well as any blogs or SF-related sites you frequent, and leave reviews of my books. I’m asking you to forward links to my books site to anyone who you think might be interested. No need for brow-beating or histrionics… just mention this author you’ve read, and that they should check him out.
Hopefully your efforts will do better for me than I did for my real estate agent!