Wednesday, January 9, 2013

WAM: What About Me?

When it comes to marketing a product, it doesn't matter if you're trying to sell a book or a box of tissues.  The most important thing to keep in mind is that your potential buyers are self-focused. They don't care how long you took to craft a perfect piece of fiction. They aren't impressed that your beta readers find your prose mesmerizing or that you won some award they've never heard of.

What readers really want to know is "What about me?" What can they expect to get out of your book? It's not enough to know that they will be educated. How will this new knowledge help them in their daily lives. It's not enough to promise them entertainment. Are your going to make readers laugh, cry, hide under the covers, or all three?

What present are you giving your readers? Source

The "WAM" principle is important to keep in mind with all of your author interactions from blog posts and newsletters to review requests and press releases.

Take a look at your blog posts for the last couple of months. How many of them are focused on what's going on with you and your life versus offering your reader something they want? And that doesn't just mean giveaways, though they are always appreciated. Are you providing your readers with content they want to read and share? Are you giving them behind the scenes information or educating them about your topic?

What about your newsletters, tweets, status updates, etc.? How many of those are writer/self focused instead of reader/audience focused? A good rule of thumb is that 80% of your content should be targeted toward what your reader needs or wants. How do you measure up?

If you aren't getting great responses from requests for reviews, I suggest you take a look at your request. What are you offering? Do you mention a willingness to cross promote the review to your audience? What about an offer to feature the reviewer and their top picks on your blog? Giving the reviewer a "WAM" incentive tells them you appreciate their hard work and is likely to get your review put ahead of another book on their their list.

Next time you find yourself in a position to ask for a favor, keep the "WAM" principle in mind when making your request and see how much more effective you are.


  1. That's a good idea. I always cross promote reviews but never thought I needed to mention this.

    1. I think it always helps to mention what you can do for someone else.

  2. All good questions that every writer should take seriously.

  3. Hi Sarah,

    Great post. I have a question. It appears the "WAM" principle applies to authors with published books. I'm interested to know what you think about writers--aspiring authors? Do you think we need to be more focused on readers in our blog/twitter posts etc...even though we don't have any, yet? Except for maybe our CP's, betas.

    I am guilty of being more "self" centered in my posts.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.


    1. I think this applies to the non-published among us to. We can't expect blog readers to tune it to hear us blather non-stop about ourselves. Anytime we put something out in to the public sphere, we should think about the WAM principle.

      As a side note, I realize this is easier said than done and I'm often guilty of forgetting, too. :)

  4. This is a great way to think about things that's very simple and easy to understand, thanks for sharing this Sarah :)

    I try to balance both self centered and for readers posts by having my posts often start out with the personal and move on the the for readers portion. I also try to always engage my readers with questions.

    1. I think that's a great strategy. Sharing something about ourselves could be exactly what your readers want. Providing a personal story with a take-away is a great blend of self and reader focused content.


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