/10 Tips To Getting Book Referrals

10 Tips To Getting Book Referrals

Today’s tips is one that should be second nature to authors, but for some reason, we often take a while to warm up to the idea. Simply put, we need to always be looking for opportunities to ask to refer others to our book. The marketing math behind this practice is amazing; so much so that it is one of the gravest mistakes you can make if you don’t do it. The math goes something like this:

By: T. Eldidge


How long would it take you to mention your book title to every person in the country? Even if you purchased national advertisement, we know that the message will fall on deaf ears most of the time, and once the advertisement has delivered it’s message, it’s done. You will have to pay to have it delivered again. The same it true about any medium you chose to spread the word about your book. And the terrible thing about trying to get the message out yourself is that it will suck up your time and/or money.

Over time, the much better, more efficient way to do this is by enlisting an army of people to help you contact every person in the country. This starts one person at a time, and when done right it has a compounding affect. And it’s one of the few cases in life where the secondary source (the referrer) has more credibility that the primary source (you). People will believe a fellow reader about how great a book is more than they will the author of that book.

One last point of clarification before we look at how to put this tip into practice. Asking for referrals should not be your ONLY means of marketing. You should use it in conjunction with other tips taken from your marketing arsenal. If you use referrals as your only means of marketing, you are in for a very long ride as this practice ramps up for you. Other tips will help you find more people to ask referrals from.

Okay, here are some ideas and things to consider when asking for referrals:

1. Asking for a referral doesn’t have to be a long, drawn out process. It can be something as simple as, “Hey, if you know someone who would like this book, I’d appreciate it if you could let them know about it.”

2. Always ask for a referral if someone contacts you to tell you they like you book. This should become automatic, second nature to you. Someone who took the time to drop you a line is someone who is excited about your book. Capture that excitement and use it to help spread the word about your book.

3. Don’t feel like you’re imposing when you ask for a referral. If you let them, there are a thousand things that will give you reasons why you should not ask people for referrals. Don’t listen to any of them. The truth is you are proud of your book and you believe it offers value to its readers. Most people will not think anything negative of an author who ask them for a referral. It’s expected, so don’t worry how you will come across by asking.

4. It’s a numbers game. This may sound like a cold, calculating marketing thing to say, but it’s true. The more people you ask for referrals, the more you will get. Not everyone you ask will refer your book, especially those with good intentions but short memories. It’s incumbent upon you to ask for referrals from everyone to find the few that will follow through for you.

5. Give and ye shall receive. Remember, asking for someone to refer your book to their friends is a lot easier than them actually referring your book. With a referral, they put their credibility on the line. If someone is willing to do that for you, then you look for ways that you can, in good conscience, refer people you know to them. Giving to others liberally will come back to you many, many times over.

6. Never assume; always ask. As authors, we sometimes think that if only they read my book, then they will want to go out and tell people about it. There is probably some truth in that, but not enough for you to bank on it. An unsolicited referral is the ultimate high for most writers but there usually are not enough of them to rely solely on them. Always ask for referrals and relish the ones that you get without asking.

7. Offer something special in return for their referral. Okay, so this may be a bit of an ethical bribe, but the truth is, good people often have better memories if there is something in it for them, especially if you are low-keyed about the offer. Be creative. Here are ideas to get you started:

* Tell them you are trying to get the word out about your book. Offer them a copy or the e-book version and asked them to tell others about it if they like it.

* Create a special area on your web site with goodies only accessible by people who are referred to your book site.

* Create a discount link and give it away. Let people know if they refer people to your book site, the link will give their friend a discount should the friend choose to purchase the book.

* Offer to list them in the acknowledgment in your next book. This is a take on J.A. Konrath’s bookseller’s contest. (See contest #3).

8. Know when to ask for them every time. There are circumstances when you want to ask for referrals every time you have contact with someone. For instance:

* Anytime you contact people en masse; i.e., newsletters, e-mail broadcasts, on your web page.

* Anytime you contact people with a standardized form; i.e., your e-mail auto signature, your cards.

9. Know when to not ask for referrals every time. If you are engaged in an one-on-one conversation with someone in person, in the body of an e-mail or on the phone, you may not want to always ask the person for a referral. Ask the first time, then ask again after you’ve had a few more conversations. Asking too often can start to make you sound more like a salesman than an author. Still, you will need to ask more than just once.

10. Learn different ways of asking for a referral. Try these if you get stuck for a creative way of asking for a referral:

* “I have a few extra bookmarks. If I give you some, can you give them to your friends to help me get the word out about my book?”

* “I’m glad you loved the book. Would you mind writing a short Amazon.com review for me to help others know that you liked it?”

* “If you know someone that would like my book, have them order directly through me and I will send them a signed copy.” (alternative: “…I will send them a signed copy and pay to have it mailed to them- just make sure they tell me that you sent them to me”).

* Ask for specific recommendations: “Can you tell your {parents, co-workers, boss, minister, coach, teacher, etc…} about my book?” This is great if you can tap into an influencer.

* “You don’t know how much I’d appreciate it if you could tell someone about my book.” (This is one of my favorites- it’s truthful, simple, and to the point. It’s also one that’s always well received).

I hope this gets you started thinking about the importance of always finding opportunities to ask for referrals. If you do it right, referrals can lead to significant marketing successes as the word starts to spread about your book. Good luck!

By | 2017-07-07T19:28:20+00:00 June 28th, 2017|Media|0 Comments