How to Promote Your Book: Use Loyalty Transfer!

John Locke pancakeImage by tsand via FlickrThat is John Locke's marketing secret: "loyalty transfer". Coming from the man who sold a million ebooks in five months, you better believe it works!

He's very open about it in his book recounting his experience, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months: (1) latch onto a major public figure - somebody you really like and genuinely feel for - and (2) write about him (or her) in a superlative way on your blog.

Don't make it too long, nobody has time for extended dissertations: 500 words is about right.  Write in the style that is your own - keep it real close to the "voice" you use in your book - and express your feelings as vigorously as you can.

Make sure you sneak in stuff about yourself. That's important, because you want people to know what sort of person you are, that you are a real fan of that "celebrity" you are celebrating. That you are "One of Them". Or as Locke puts it: OOU, meaning "one of us".

It's that wonderful, warm feeling of participation, of sharing that you need to provoke and stimulate.

Then make sure you put a link at the end of your post that takes the reader straight to your book. Not a link somewhere else on your blog page. No, it has to be placed at the end of the post, so it's easy to click.

But you're not finished yet. Now, you need to find where all the fans of the celebrity you just wrote about happen to hang, and you need to address them directly.

The easiest vehicle for that is Twitter. So you tweet them about how wonderful xyz Celebrity is and tell them you just blogged about him/her. You tweet this message to one hundred fans the first day, another hundred the next day and so on, until you get to the end of the list.

Then, because you're a polite person and know all about Internet etiquette, you watch for re-tweets and engage with the re-tweeters, thanking them for the re-tweet. At that point, you've become pals and you can start asking them about your book...Meanwhile, keep an eye on your sales, and watch them zoom up!

Of course, all this works pretty smoothly if you let your blog post sit there for at least one month: that's the amount of time you need to drive your Twitter campaign. And you can't have lots of posts on your blog, that would confuse people! Indeed, John Locke makes about a dozen posts a year. Yes, you read that right: not two posts a week (something considered a standard for regular bloggers), but just 12 or 13 in the whole year!

Ah, and here is one more peculiarity: his posts elicit relatively few comments (not more than a dozen or so). He figures that's because people click on the book link and buy the book instead of commenting!

John Locke swears that with this kind of blog model, his sales, which had been stagnant for several months, suddenly took off. Just flew out the window.

He figures he's now got about 100,000 "core" fans, people who've bought one or more of his books and swear by him. They are ready to buy ALL his books and every new one that comes out. They're all his dear OOUs ("one of us", right). They're his pals, they've moved up from Twitter to email exchanges. They're in touch with him. They all share in a double loyalty: to the celebrity John Locke originally wrote about on his blog, and to John Locke himself.

Hence, the phenomenon of what he calls "loyalty transfer": they've transfered their loyalty from the celebrity to him.

Clever, isn't it? He says he is not "manipulating" anybody. He strenuously rejects the notion. He claims it's just the way he genuinely feels about the said celebrity. All I can say, is that one has to believe him, because in his case, it sure worked!

Of course, it doesn't need to be a specific celebrity, it could be anything else. Say you've written a cookbook or a wine directory, you want to look for people with a love for cheese or wine. So that's what you blog about and it's something that can be easily shared with lots and lots of people who love cheese and wine. Then, once your post is up on your blog, you go look for these people on Twitter.

How? For example, Twellow (linked to Twitter) has directories of Twitter users broken down by...over 1300 categories - so you can always find who you're looking for. Then, to spread out the good word beyond your immediate followers, you need to use # hashtags in front of keywords. You can also latch on to daily trends Twitter announces and add your voice to the trend, thus ensuring you are reaching out to many more people than those who follow you.

The point is to aim straight at your audience, tell them you share in their feelings. Yes, but...there's always a but. It also means you've got to KNOW your audience. You have to have a clear idea of who your book is written for. And this is something John Locke had no doubts about: he knew exactly what sort of person would read his novels!

Get the idea? I think it's pretty neat. It's worked for John Locke. Has anyone else tried it? Do you know exactly who your audience is? Do you know how to reach them and move them so they fall in love with you and your book?

In short,what has worked for you?
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