Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

How Can An Author Make Their Book Go Viral?

Writers want their books to be read and there’s a tsunami of advice flooding the ‘Net about how to get more readers

Most of it is Wrong.


Most of it’s wrong because the people giving it are motivated by two main drivers—Popularity & Money.

I read The Tipping Point a number of years ago. It’s a very famous book about how to make stuff go viral; and, I’ve come to realize its popularity was based on hype and false premises.

Enter Jonah Berger, James G. Campbell Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

There’s a video below of him talking at the Google Campus—explaining various ideas from his book, Contagious.

I’d never expect a writer to watch the video and suddenly know how to make their book go viral

Maybe even reading the book wouldn’t instantly solve the Promotion-problem

Perhaps getting the book [which I did] then getting the free guide to how to apply the ideas to your specific situation might work

Plus, there’s a tremendous amount of research behind this man’s ideas.

There’s also some fairly heavy-weight praise for the book:

  • “Jonah Berger is as creative and thoughtful as he is spunky and playful…It is hard to come up with a better example of using social science to illuminate the ordinary and extraordinary in our daily lives.”
    –> Dan Ariely, James B. Duke professor of psychology and behavioral economics at Duke University and bestselling author of Predictably Irrational
  • “An infectious treatise on viral marketing… Berger writes in a sprightly, charming style that deftly delineates the intersection of cognitive psychology and social behavior with an eye toward helping businesspeople and others spread their messages.”
    –> Publishers Weekly
  • “Jonah Berger knows more about what makes information ‘go viral’ than anyone in the world.”
    –> Daniel Gilbert, Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University and author of Stumbling on Happiness


Watch the video, not to learn the techniques but to have some of Jonah’s ENERGY galvanize you to, at least, begin to think differently about how to promote your writing, and, hopefully, get the book and the free application-guide and  learn the techniques :-)

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11 responses to “How Can An Author Make Their Book Go Viral?

  1. Barbara Blackcinder April 3, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Hmm, I wonder if changing my name to Blackfriday would be enough of a trigger to increase my hits? LOL Excellent video Alex.


  2. Jackson Arthur April 5, 2013 at 11:33 am

    I’m with Barb. Great post! It’s only a first try, so I can’t say that I have established any real correlation yet, but I used a concept from this video in just six of my tweets yesterday, and had my second best day for views and set a new record for visitors. Woo hoo!


  3. Jane Watson April 7, 2013 at 3:53 am

    I adored this video and rushed out and bought ‘Contagious’. I enjoyed ‘The Tipping Point’ but seeing as I was not sure if I was actually a Maven or a Connector or a Salesperson, it left me feeling kinda hopeless if I could not recruit any of these to my cause;-) This approach makes a lot of emotional and psychological sense to me and i found it very satisfying that anyone can use this approach to mine the deep possibilities of how we connect and remember.


    • Alexander M Zoltai April 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm

      Glad you got the book, Jane—perhaps we may find things we can use on Book Island?

      I’ve read the first two chapters and know why his Energy was so attractive to me on the video—then, I felt the energy and missed much of the factual content—with the book, I’m all into the factual content :-)

      I like your focus—“…anyone can use this approach to mine the deep possibilities of how we connect and remember.”


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