Word of mouth is your single most effective tool for book promotion.
Sometimes I get the feeling that authors think word-of-mouth means talking about their book, or retweeting what other people say about their book.
That's NOT effective word of mouth promotion. Here's an example of what is.
Earlier this week I was on the phone with a client. We were talking about what she'd been doing recently and she casually mentioned she'd driven down to SomplaceElse to attend a book signing.
"Oh!" said I, always eager to hear what my clients are reading. "Whose?"
"Andrew MacRae. He's published by a very small press but it's a charming book."
"Aha," said I, tapping on my keyboard. "Murder Misdirected?"
Yes indeed that's the book. And my client had gone to Andrew MacRae's reading because he'd come to hers and was a long time fan.
I bought the book.
I read it on the subway, and finished at my favorite place to read these days: the SudsYerDuds Reading Room.
And now I'm telling you about it. That's word of mouth promotion.
Word of mouth is other people talking about your book. I've never met Andrew MacRae. I wouldn't know him if he picked my pocket or sold me a copy of Wilkie Collins The Woman In White (when you read the book, you'll get those references.) I bought it because my client liked it.
And she went to his reading cause he'd been a fan of hers.
The way you build word of mouth is by making friends with authors and the best way to do that is support them. Buy their books, attend their events, like their FaceBook pages, tell them on Twitter you like their books.
Word of mouth is a LONG TERM strategy. You can't start on pub day. You really can't start on pub YEAR. It's something you build slowly, relentlessly over time.
By relentlessly I mean ten minutes a day, every day. Nothing is MORE ineffective that a blat of tweets, or likes followed by radio silence.
Oh and buy the book here