From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Monday, November 5, 2012

3 Things That Would Make Me Buy Your Book

The interwebz is kind of a crazy place. It is an absolute zoo, and you have to have skill, honesty, and strategy to get your voice simply heard, let alone listened to.

Twitter and Facebook and every other social media platform is full of people shouting LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME BUY MY BOOK HERE! I definitely understand the sentiment--we all have this dream and we are all doing everything we possibly know to do in order to achieve it. But has that arm waving look over here strategy ever worked?

So I tried to think about this: what would actually make me seriously consider spending my hard-earned money on the book of one of my Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads friends? What strategies would actually work on me as a buyer? I came up with three.

1. Proof of Goodness: If I already know you are a good, entertaining and interesting writer because I read your blog and your tweets, I am more likely to consider buying your book. This has definitely happened several times, where I buy a book purely based on a writers blog. So what does this mean for us on the writers side? It means pay attention to your social media accounts, if you have them. Be yourself, your best self, on Twitter and Facebook and your blog. Provide content as informative and entertaining as you can.

Another way proof of goodness might work is if you prove to me I would like the actual book. For example, if you post a quote from it that totally grabs my attention, or if I come across your summary and can't stop thinking about it. On the other hand, if you bombard me with quotes and summaries I'm probably not even going to read them. So put it out there where people can see it, but then act genuinely and naturally with the virtual community and they will find it themselves. That's much more satisfying for a reader.

2. Reciprocation: This may sound a bit scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours, and maybe it is. But what I mean is that if someone leaves a nice comment on my blog or video, mentions me in a post or writes a nice review, I will basically always try to reciprocate. At the very least I smile while I check out their blog and twitter feed, which probably has the eye-catching book summary I was talking about. I've been turned into a life-long fan of certain writers because they were incredible enough to offer to read my work. That's kind of  a major deal, and I'm not saying you should offer chocolate and critiques to every blogger you find (I prefer white chocolate, btw). What I am saying is that kind words--a blog comment, a personal and sincere twitter mention, a review, a YouTube conversation--can go a long, long way.

3. Continued Correspondence: I guess this one boils down to determination and staying power. What I mean is this: I've found many, many good writer/bloggers out there that just don't seem to fit my taste on first impression. I enjoy their blog, their book blurb looks good, they occasionally tweet me or comment on the blog, but they are enough outside my genre or my first taste that it just doesn't translate into me really thinking about buying their book. But then a few weeks or months go buy of me continually enjoying their blog or videos, a few more tweets, something like that, and their name starts to stick in my head. Then the next time I'm at the book store I think of it and actually hold their book in my hands. And having their name in your head and holding their book can be a powerful incentive. So don't drop any bridges. Keep talking, keep corresponding, you never know when it will translate into a new fan.

I hope this helped. These are just the things that have brought me from a casual social media observer to an actual book buyer. What about you? Have you ever bought a blogger/twitter friends book, and if so, what made you shell the dough?

Sarah Allen


  1. Your last point makes a lot of sense. There's definitely something to be said for having names lodged in your head.

    There really are so many people on Twitter talking about nothing but their books - it almost makes me want to run away, but there are some great things on there too.

  2. Such an interesting post. I often buy books because I like an author's blog or Twitter feed, even though a few years ago, I never would have thought that would happen! It's amazing how social media can change your world. :)

  3. These are great tips! I was raving to my husband about your blog, it's such an awesome resource for writers! Thanks!

  4. Great post! I found you on InkPageant. I agree. I've bought books based solely on my social media interaction with the author. And as a newbie author I try very hard to leave a good impression so that others do the same for me.

  5. I echo the other comments on here. You make some good points. Most importantly, you remind us to think like a reader, not a writer.

  6. Love these. Thanks for sharing. I especially agree with the listening to other bloggers about good recs and people not bombarding potential readers with too much info! (Especially on twitter!) :)

  7. These are all excellent points! It seems like there's ALWAYS a book tour going on, and that can get pretty annoying. Lately I've only offered to be a part of a tour if the author is willing to guest post.

    I think this way, the readers that don't follow their blog get a sense of who the author is without being bombarded with 8 million ads telling them to buy the book. Does that make sense?

  8. Definitely agree with point 3. I've found a lot of books and a lot of writers that are way out of my comfort zone, simply be having a lot of regular correspondence with.

    A few of them have made such an impression and helped me with my writing that they received the ultimate compliment a fellow writer can give.

    Permanency in the acknowledgement section of a novel.

  9. Great advice, Sarah. Nothing turns me off quite like encountering someone new for the first time online and the first or second thing they say to me is "buy my book."

    But like you, I've greatly expanded my reading list just by meeting authors who are genuine and helpful.


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