We Thrive on Word of Mouth

My friend John Roling recently recommended Winter Kill to a buddy of his. Today, that buddy’s four-star review went live on Amazon.

This is how authors survive, my friends. Reviews of any kind are great, but the word of mouth is what really makes a difference. This is why so many of us talk about what we’re reading on Twitter, or Facebook, or whatever social network we happen to be mining at the moment. This is why on the blog I’ll let you know I’m reading things like Save the Cat or  Freedom: Credos from the Road or All the Young Warriors. This is why we name-drop our friends like Brian Keene and Cullen Bunn.

Not because we expect reciprocation, but because we know how hard it is to earn the eyeballs and we respect the work enough to say “HEY! YOU NEED TO READ THIS, TOO!” Because we want to keep the work coming, to see our favorite books and our favorite writers succeed.

Read a good book lately? Spread the word. Tell everyone who will listen. Take thirty seconds to send a tweet or post to the wall of your Faceypage.

Yes, we have to tout our own books, too. It’s expected. But the same people see it over and over and have tuned it out, either because they already have the book or because they just let it all fall back into the background chatter of seven bajillion tweets a day.

Word of mouth saves lives.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.


  1. robert says:

    I believe word of mouth is the greatest marketing tool available. I also now believe, based on this past year, that Amazon reviews are crucial for getting your book recommended to more readers. Whenever I get a tweet or email from a reader telling me they loved one of my books, I so want to tell them to then go leave a review at Amazon, for pete’s sake, but in the end I don’t. Still trying to figure out how to subtly suggest it to them so they think it’s their idea ;-)

    • Mike says:

      I would just outright ask them to do so. “Thanks! I’m glad you dug it! If you have time, could you leave a review on Amazon?”

      Really no different than asking them to buy your book in the first place. Goes back to the sales rule: ask for the sale.

      • robert says:

        Right, but these from readers who I’ve never heard from before. They just happened to pick up my book and read it and liked it and contacted me. But yeah, I know what you mean. I just need to start sucking it up and asking. Then again, one time I *did* do that and the reader said sure, they’d be happy to … and never did. Oh well.

        • Mike says:

          Yeah, it never hurts to ask once. They do or they don’t. I can’t see anyone getting offended unless you harass them about it, but I assume most of us know better than to do something like that.

  2. Troy says:

    It’s true for author recs as well…you recommended Yellow Medicine by Anthony Neil Smith and it was fantastic and got me to pay for several other of his works: Hogdoggin’ and Psychosomatic.


  3. […] Read what Ray has to say about paying authors what they’re worth.  Then make sure to tell your friends about your favorite writers. […]

  4. Ray Garton says:

    Excellent post, Mike! Word of mouth is more important to writers now than ever before. Life has gotten so much noisier and more crowded that good word of mouth can be the best advertising.

  5. […] frequent: http://goo.gl/erx2N. Any click over to the Amazon page is greatly appreciated. Remember, writers thrive on word of mouth! Share […]