Sunday, April 12, 2009

Word of Mouth

Over and over, solo and chorus, I have been assured that word of mouth advertising is the very best, the ultimate platinum-standard when it comes to getting a product or a service out there; I even heard this, years before I even considered writing books. The CPA who does my taxes was referred to me by another client of his who coincidentally was a friend of mine. The technical services company that sees to the maintenance of my home AC unit came to me in a similar fashion- and you would not believe how essential that service over Texas summers. (Famously, 19th century General Phil Sheridan is reported to have once remarked, that if he owned Hell and Texas, he would live in hell and rent out Texas). So, no argument that the very best referrals come from satisfied clients and customers, who are ecstatically happy to tell other people about their experience.

So, it’s belaboring the obvious, pointing out that this applies to books as well. Every reader who reads one of our books, and sings its praises to their book-loving friends, who also love it and… well, it’s like that old fable/tale/mathematical demonstration about grains and rice and a chess-board, where you start out with a single grain and finish up (through the miracle of geometric progression, or something like that) with thousands and thousands of grains of rice. The exact technical name for this escapes me at the moment, since I was an English major.

Anyway, I got a lovely email from another long-time San Antonio blogger who - although he blogs about drinking, music, tractors and gambling – has also been a fan of mine since way back. He wrote that he was at an event a couple of weeks ago – some sort of IT or business event in Los Vegas, I believe – and for some reason, he was involved in a video production, for which the producers had hired voice talent. In the breaks between shooting the video, he was chatting to the voice talent, a very pleasant and down-to-earth woman, whose husband also was from Texas. It developed that her husband was very fond of the Hill Country and had also lived in Germany, so my friend began telling her all about the Adelsverein Trilogy – which he had ordered and read, months ago when it was first released. She was terrifically excited to hear about the Trilogy, and said that her husband would be absolutely thrilled, because he loved, loved, loved history. She took down the information about ordering it, the author and titles and everything – and at the very end of it my friend found out the name of her husband; Peter Weller. Yep, “Buckaroo Banzai” and “Building an Empire” Peter Weller.

He was just tickled – and so was I; I didn’t even know that Peter Weller had any connection to Texas, or to Germany, even. I am waiting breathlessly for the Amazon ranking to hiccup slightly, and move upwards, meaning that someone – dare I hope? - has bought another set.

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