Thursday, May 10, 2018

Word-of-Mouth Sales?

This week, I ran out and got Alex Marwood’s THE DARKEST SECRET. I’ve started reading and am enjoying it. I heard about it via word of mouth.

Well, kind of.

You see, I saw the following tweet by Stephen King: Rereading THE DARKEST SECRET, by Alex Marwood. If there has been a better mystery-suspense story written in this decade, I can’t think of it. Maybe THE PAYING GUESTS, by Sarah Waters. Both transcend the genre.

The book is living up to Mr. King’s praise. All of which has me wondering about the role of social media on book sales. How many times have I bought a book because a friend recommended it? Often times, this comes in the form of an author friend: Reed Farrell Coleman suggested Megan Abbott; SJ Rozan suggested Naomi Hirahara.

Maybe this is all a case of the more things change, the more they stay the same. People have, after all, been swapping and recommending books forever. Goodreads has 65 million members and was born of this long-standing tradition.

Yet Goodreads, even with its seemingly large membership, is designed for –– and serves –– book lovers. But does success on Goodreads (strong reviews, etc) lead to sales? The data indicates this can be hit or miss, while NPR radio mentions and reviews in large-scale mainstream publications will produce noticeable results. One interesting item: 84% of Twitter users say they use the platform to look for deals, especially during the holidays.

So where does Stephen King’s twitter praise rank? Certainly, he’s not your typical word-of-mouth promoter. (I follow him mostly because his Donald Trump tweets make me laugh. And think.) I have no way of knowing how many sales it generated for Alex Marwood, but she was sure to tweet back.

Oh, thanks so much!

So I’m assuming King’s praise didn’t hurt.

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