Friday, April 9, 2010

Thinking about Word of Mouth

Tip of the day: Check out a great post by Donald Maass on "The Elements of Awe" which speaks to what kind of book generates word of mouth.

Here is what I know about word of mouth:

Word of mouth sells books.
Word of mouth is probably the best kind of marketing there is.
Word of mouth is something all authors want a lot of, yet whether it happens or not is entirely out of their control.

Or is it? When we're writing our book, can we make sure and include those elements Donald Maass talks about in the blog post I linked to?

He says: The researchers defined awe as an “emotion of self-transcendence, a feeling of admiration and elevation in the face of something greater than the self.” Stories that inspire awe have two important dimensions: 1) Their scale is large, and 2) they require of readers “mental accommodation”, meaning they force the reader to view the world in a different way.

I find the whole thing fascinating. There are lots of good books. But the good books that people MUST tell other people about - they have that something extra special. TWILIGHT has it. THE HUNGER GAMES has it. WHEN YOU REACH ME has it.

Think about those books and what Donald is saying regarding WHY some books elicit a feeling of awe in readers. Do you think it's something the authors consciously thought about while writing, or did it just come about from trying to write the very best book they could?

Do you ever think about it while writing?

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career


Kate Fall said...

I don't know. I try to think about eliciting an emotional response in readers when I write. And I'm challenging myself to write a novel with a larger world scope now, which is killing me, actually. But I don't know if I could really sit down thinking, "I'm going to write something that inspires awe today."

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Yes, I think it's a powerful emotional response to a story/situation/characters, but I also think it's building a *big* world within your story, a larger, life-threatening problem that affects whole societies, not just a family or school or neighborhood. Donald Maass talks about this very aspect in his book, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL - big world stories. And if you think about it, all the big word-of-mouth stories mentioned here fit that description.

I just have trouble thinking BIG. :-)

Emily Marshall said...

This really gave me something to think about. I know what you mean, I guess it's that "it" factor that people in the entertainment industry always talk about it. I think either a book has it or it doesn't. I don't think there's things you could add in, apart from making it the best book you can and making it feel authentic and have a good hook. Alot of times, I think it's about timing too. Lots of stuff you can't control.