Saturday, August 20, 2011

What "The Help" has to say about marketing

My husband and I saw "The Help" yesterday. I'd read the book and was curious about the movie version.

I'd also read enough reviews so that I knew most comments were along the lines of How Far We Have Come, It Wasn't Like That With MY Family, or Thank Goodness That Can't Happen in This Day and Tine.

I wsn't thinking that at all. I was thinking of how Kathryn Stockett's book shot to the top of the best seller list and garnered a film contract. I'm pretty sure she wasn't Tweeting back in 2009, when the book was published. I checked her website and it was copyrighted in 2010, so that came after the fact also. As for a blog, she may write one, but I haven't found it.

No, her primary marketing tool was word of mouth.

You could see it working in the movie as the camera panned over scenes of women reading the book, cover prominently displayed. There were scenes of women talking about the book, face to face or over the telephone. People told people about the book and they bought it and told other people.

Isn't that the phenomonen we all wish for ourselves? That somehow our book would be talked about, praised, and finally pushed to the top of the Times best-seller list -- and stay there for weeks on end?

Last week a woman stopped me while I was walking. "I'm reading your book right now," she said and went on to flatter both the book and me to the point that I stopped her with a gesture. "My head is getting too big," I apologized. I thanked her for the kind words and said how much I appreciated hearing them.

In retrospect, I should have asked her to tell all her friends and relations the same things she had told me, and asked them to tell their friend and relations.

Facebook, websites, blogs and Twitter can do only so much. Ads are expensive. There are only so many book clubs in the area. In the end, it's whether or not people like your book well enough to tell their friends that will get the word out there.

So I'm keeping my fingers crossed ...

Because it really is a good book!


  1. Good luck with the book, Sandy! You're so right about word of mouth being the best way.

  2. Word of mouth is very powerful, even more so than money. Money won't sell your book. But people talking about how good it is will. That is why we are told to write the best darn story we can write. It sounds like you've done that.

  3. Gossip trains move faster than any other mode of communication. Loved the movie, and have downloaded the book, The Help. Impressive. We could all hope to be so successful. So do you see Plotz coming to the "silver screen?" I have it downloaded and waiting (I'm almost finished with Christina's). I'm so proud to know you guys! Here's to "whispered" success!

  4. I can only say how exciting that someone recognized you on the street! I haven't read or even heard of "The Help" until now. Sheesh! I guess I live with my head in a bucket or something! I need to see this one now. But word of mouth is gold to any writer even with the technology we have today. Yes, it says try it- but the in-person exuberance of another does much more for me.