Creating the Power of Buzz
Part 1.: Direct Routes to Readers

May 2004
by Lissa Warren

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I’ll let you in on every publicist’s dirty little secret: media alone cannot a bestseller make. We publicists take a certain martyrlike pleasure in thinking that every book lives and dies in our lap. And while I wouldn’t sneeze at the chance for a New York Times book review, or a stint on NPR, or a morning-show booking, the truth is that none of them–or even all of them together–will necessarily skyrocket a book to success. Publicity is merely a means to an end, and that end is something called “buzz.”

Buzz, a.k.a. word-of-mouth, is the beautiful thing that occurs when a book takes on a life of its own. Publicists know buzz is happening when the media start calling–media to which we haven’t sent the book. Other things alert us, too: calls from reading groups, calls from organizations that want the author to speak, even calls from readers who want to get in touch with the author. In short, with buzz, people seek us out instead of us having to seek them out, and the book is being talked about even though we didn’t start the conversation.

But buzz is, of course, elusive. We’re not sure how to make it. If we knew, let’s face it, there’d be lots more bestsellers. That said, things can be done on a grassroots level to get people talking–to get the chain reaction going.

There are two main ways to create buzz for a book. One is to reach out directly to potential readers (see below). The…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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