Think about it. Why do you recommend a certain book? Share a link? When do you implore a friend to see the movie? Same answer for all: When a book/movie/musician/vacation/ story/sunset moves you emotionally, you can’t help but tell others about it and urge them to experience the emotion that moved you! Ah, but no easy feat amid the gazillion things trying to nab our attention. Buy Me! Read me! Watch me! Oh, and tell others!
A recent testimonial on Amazon.com for my picture book If I Could Keep You Little illustrates this emotion -leads-to-telling reality.
“I read my friend’s copy and was overcome with emotion. I knew I needed to get it for my nieces who have young kids. This book perfectly sums up every feeling in a parent’s heart.”
How to Emotionally Move your Readers
So, what are some ways to emotionally move your readers — enough to get them to feel a little more deeply about your work and a) want to read it and b) talk to others about it! Here’s three that come to mind for me, and I’d love to hear your thoughts as well.
1. Develop / Distribute Your Book in Surprising Way.
Writer Alexandra Franzen distributed the first two chapters of her steamy, erotic novel via Twitter; including her 11K followers in the “first look” excitement. She promises three chapters, gratis, then an invitation to purchase the book. An unconventional approach by a most interesting woman! Another example by our own Joe Bunting who is hooking readers through Goodbye Paris, a collaborative memoir project. Joe invites readers to suggest the adventures on which he can embark!
2. Do Something (or Make up Something) Crazy, Compelling, or Controversial and Be Incredibly Honest With It.
Humans love our collective human-ness and savor a story that lets us travel someone else’s journey for a couple hundred pages. A few that come to mind. Eat, Pray, Love. Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Tuesday’s With Morrie and Heaven is for Real. Whether you love the subject matter or not, we can analyze for hours certain topics that tap into universal emotion. It’s been said that one must live an interesting life to have an interesting story to tell!
3. Shock the H*ll out of Them.
Jodi Picoult penned a surprising and terribly sad ending to her 2003 novel, My Sister’s Keeper. Picout admitted her own son was so upset by it, he didn’t want to speak to her for days. Many of her readers felt the same way and talked A LOT about it. A LOT. Then, of course, millions more needed to read the book to read the ending ! How can you shock your readers to get them talking?
Share with your fellow writers any techniques you’ve used to get your readers talking! Have your strategies worked or not?