Virality, It’s Not Just For Videos

You’d think books and Youtube videos would have less in common.

Recently, I was watching the Ted Talk “Why Videos Go Viral” which is presented by Kevin Allocca, a Youtube trends manager. He commented on how times have changed and literally anyone can become Internet famous within a week or less. The reality though is only a tiny percent ever make it, unsurprising when you consider an average 48 hours of footage is posted every minute.

Three details are primarily responsible for this transformation from the masses to sensational: tastemakers, communities of participation, and unexpectedness. A group of tastemakers who “share their point of view” take an unknown and put it on the map. It’s also been called the Oprah Effect and has happened to numerous businesses that made it on Oprah’s Favorite Things.

The next idea is that we take what is created and personalize it, spread it. It becomes part of the community and grows as people make it their own and join in. Being genuinely unique is how you get to the stage that tastemakers and the community get involved. The unexpected element sets you apart and shakes up an otherwise apathetic group of people.

Sound like book marketing?

After reading dozens of articles and posts about how to market your book, it was actually funny to hear all of the same elements coming from a Youtube man. Being a part of the community leads to you or people who appreciate your work becoming tastemakers who give your novel traction. It leads to readers personalizing it by sharing impressive reviews that inspire others or, better yet, using word of mouth to help it spread. Of course that only happens if the material you’ve written is truly unique and worthy of their special attention.

To all of this I say, get involved in your process. It’s not enough to expect to be discovered at the bottom of the agent submission black hole. You can’t join an indie book review group and automatically know everyone involved is going to go buy your book because you say “Hey, I’m one of you.” You must put as much quality into supporting your reading community as you do your book. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when they show you as much consideration as you’ve shown them.

If you haven’t seen the video, feel free to click the following link: https://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_allocca_why_videos_go_viral#t-402095

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