Word-of-mouth is why authors succeed.
reporters ask me why I give away the full text of my novels online,
for free, the day they're available in shops, I tell 'em: "It's about
word of mouth. My readers have large social circles of friends whom
they never see face to face. Books like Sisters of Ya Ya Sisterhoood
became a success because one friend went to another friend and handed
her a copy of the book, saying, 'You must read this, it changed my life.'
I want to give my readers the same ability, so I have to give them a
form of the book that they can 'hand' to their friends over the Internet.
Even if it displaces some sales, the most valuable thing an author can
get is a personal recommendation, it's the thing that is most likely
to sell more copies of my books."
Now a study has concluded the same thing: the thing that made The Da
Vinci Code, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night and Memoirs
of a Geisha into best-sellers was word-of-mouth: not advertising, not
cover design, not marketing. Friends telling friends about the book.
"Publishers often stand accused of becoming ever more sophisticated
and cynical in their pursuit of creating instant author brands, when
ultimately it is as likely to be good old-fashioned personal recommendation
that really sells," he said.
The World Book Day's campaign to encourage people to recommend their
favourite books to family and friends includes the circulation of eight
million postcards carrying the message "spread the word".
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