*OR “Introspective Thoughts I had while driving a LONG way to my favorite Thai place”
I’ve been talking to several people recently regarding the idea of “Word of Mouth”, and how it works. Does Word of Mouth join with publisher investment to make a success, or can it really turn a little or lesser known book into a star?
Here’s my thought.
A lesser-known, or lesser-publicized, book is like a hole-in-the-wall restaurant. If there’s a small restaurant, but the food is AMAZING, you will go out of your way to eat there. If it’s SUPERB, you will tell people. The small restaurant has obstacles to overcome – maybe it’s location isn’t ideal, or it isn’t getting the media attention – but it overcomes them by the strength of its content, its food.
Similarly, if you read a book, regardless of whether you’ve heard of it a zillion times, or stumbled on it, and you LOVE LOVE LOVE the book, you will talk about it. You will recommend it. You will hand-sell it. You will want to share it with others.
So the basic idea, in my perhaps-naive opinion, is that GREAT (sometimes not always good books, but GREAT ones) will (most often) get talked about. They’ll get shared. It might be a slow burn, a whisper growing into a chatter and into a shout, but they will get spoken of.
The best thing a writer can do, if they’re worried they won’t get enough push (the vast majority don’t) is to write the BEST EFFING BOOK they possibly can. Because bad books are many, and good books are plentiful (most of the ones that get massive buzz are in one of these two categories) but the GREAT books are few, and they DO stand out.
SO push yourself. Don’t try to write up to the par of the books around you. Try to go beyond. Try to make it always harder. Try to make it better. Don’t settle. If you settle for GOOD, then understand that there is a sea of GOOD. It’s an achievement just to float in that sea, of course, but if you can find a way above the water, you’ll get seen.