Wondering how to make a book go viral? Let’s face it, if you’re a writer you know you are. We all are. Fortunately, there are six key ingredients to doing this as discovered by Jonah Berger and revealed in his book Contagious.
So, what are they? Well, let’s take a look.
How To Make A Book Go Viral With Social Currency
One of the first ingredients to making your book go viral is giving it social currency or making it valuable to someone to pass along. This means that it allows the person who shares your information to bring some value to the social conversation and increase his or her status.
It makes the person sharing your book look smart, cool, in the know and all those things.
In other words, if your book is exceptionally good or deals with a timely subject the person passing it along will appear to know something not many others do. Thus, upping their status.
How To Make A Book Go Viral With Triggers
Triggers are things that cause people to think about related things (your book). For example, the word dog reminds us of the word cat and peanut butter reminds us of jelly.
OK, so how does this translate to the real world?
Well, if your book is about Albanian terrorists and the problem of Albanian terrorism happens to be in the news the odds will be greater that someone might mention your book to someone while they are talking about the problem.
Or, say your book is about a child with autism, well autism is a growing epidemic and, if your book offers some insight into dealing with the situation, the odds that it will be mentioned will be higher than not.
Humans are emotional animals. We think we’re logical but it’s an illusion. We make our decisions based on emotion and then use logic to justify those decisions.
So play to the reader’s emotion.
Your story about the child with autism will be significantly more memorable and, therefore, shareable the more poignant it is.
The more observable something is the more likely it will be imitated.
So what does this mean for my novel?
Well, try giving your characters catch phrases that might catch on with the public.
Bart Simpson saying “cowabunga dude” is a perfect example of this.
How powerful is this?
Here are a list of catch phrases. I bet you know where they’re from, who said them or what they refer to. without being told.
“No soup for you!” — The Soup Nazi, Seinfeld
“Oh, my God! They killed Kenny!” — Stan and Kyle, South Park
“Bam!” — Emeril Lagasse, Emeril Live
“Is that your final answer?” — Regis Philbin, Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?
“I’m Rick James, bitch!” — “Rick James,” Chappelle’s Show
“You’re fired!” — Donald Trump, The Apprentice
Let’s go back to your book about the autistic child. If the characters are portrayed dealing with the situation in a positive and beneficial way that might serve as an example to someone else then it has practical value.
And, guess what?
Yes, the odds that it will be mentioned in conversation will increase.
How To Make A Book Go Viral With Stories
Stories are the way human beings communicate and learn. People don’t just pass along information, they pass along stories. So make your message so integral to your story that people can’t pass the information on without telling your story.
For example, if someone you know has just lost a spouse and is grieving and you’ve recently read a story about how the main character came to terms with their own loss, you will actually share that character’s story and how they came to terms with that loss instead of just saying “you should read this book”.
People will actually pitch your book with emotion to their friends.