How to Use the John Locke Principle to Market Your Book Through Games

John Locke has sold a million copies of his various books. He has also written a very useful guide titled “How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months” that describes his methods.

One of the key principles in the book is the idea of “transfer of loyalty”. While this is a well-known and much used principle in marketing, John has used it to great effect in creating effective blog posts that promote his books. Hence, I’ve referred to it as the John Locke principle.

So what is this principle?

Take a topic that will be of interest to your audience and somehow tie your own content to that topic so as to get the audience to transfer its loyalty to your content. For example, let’s say that you’ve written a book that will appeal to Harry Potter fans. You write a blog post about the latest Harry Potter movie. Then you push your blog post on Twitter to people who are looking for anything related to Harry Potter. They land up on your blog post, realize that you’ve got a book that has something for the Harry Potter aficionado and voila, you’ve got a potential customer!

The method is really simple and really effective.

Many writers were already using this principle in their blog posts prior to the release of John’s manual. Now with the release of the book, the number of writers creating blogs that are intended to get readers to transfer their loyalty is bound to explode.

At BookBuzzr, we believe that this method can be used to market books by creating word games and quiz games that help get new readers. In fact, we developed our Hangman game technology some months ago keeping this principle in mind (although at that time it did not have a name or a famous author endorsing the system!) A word game that allows for transfer of loyalty has novelty value. Done right, it may work even better than a blog post. Here’s why:

1. It can be consumed faster than a blog post.
2. It can be more fun and interactive than a blog post.
3. In most cases, it’s faster to create than a blog post.

Working Example:

BookBuzzr Author Pro subscriber – Eric Hamilton Wilson – has written a book that revolves around the death of Princess Diana. He describes his book ‘Love & Death In Paris ’97’ as under:

This suspenseful novel contains themes of love and loss, peace and forgiveness. It follows the adventures of Daniel Plain, a young man from Seattle who moves in Paris in the fateful year of 1997. Daniel’s life becomes intertwined with events linked to Diana, Princess of Wales, and he finds himself in great danger as he seeks to unravel the mysteries surrounding the tragic loss of the people’s princess.

To promote his book, Eric Hamilton has created a Hangman trivia game that challenges the reader to make up the words. Try the game below and see if the concept works for you.

Now all Eric Hamilton has to do is to market this game to people who are interested in Princess Diana (and I think there are about a billion such people in the world!) One way for him to market this game is to send a tweet to all people on Twitter who are interested in Princess Diana or have included the Hastag #princessdiana in their tweets.

We’re also working on a very effective quiz game technology that will help BookBuzzr authors implement this principle. Stay tuned.

Vikram Narayan is the founder of BookBuzzr Book Marketing Technologies. Follow him on Twitter
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8 thoughts on “How to Use the John Locke Principle to Market Your Book Through Games


    Locke’s book seems to have had mixed reviews on amazon.Lot’s of padding from the comments. Still, it’s a strategy of sorts, which is more than many authors have. We all need a strategy so as to avoid drowning in the vast ocean of the interweb (sic–or is it sea-sick, hah). Personally, I prefer to look at everyone else’s strategy and then buy yet another $19.99 ‘how to’ book. Dont get me wrong, some of them are great, some not. My own feeling is that most contain information that’s out there if you’re willing to look. Or of course, we could employ Bookbuzzr. Keep up the good work.

    BTW, couldn’t put in my URL—is it something to do with TrackBack??


  2. Doug,

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Google DOES index games if each of the games has a separate URL (this is the case with our Hangman game).

    Who plays Hangman games?

    Almost everybody especially when there are prizes (such as Kindles, Amazon gift certificates and best selling books) involved. This is the case with us where you earn points playing the games and can exchange those points for prizes on

    BookBuzzr author – Chetan Dhruve (author of ‘Why Your Boss is Programmed to be a Dictator’) – who created a Hangman game named \Colorful Names for Bosses\ reports that his game has been played 202 times (i.e. by 202 unique individuals.) Bear in mind that the engagement levels are much deeper on a Hangman game (i.e. you can skim a blog post but you will usually pay more attention when playing a game.)

    And BookBuzzr author Debra Brown – who created word games that center around Victorian times has had scores of games played in just a few days.

    Coming to your question about John Locke’s book … I don’t know if it is a good idea to reject the ideas in a book just because the book has a low Amazon rating. The idea of loyalty transfer is quite sound.

  3. Doug, I think the Amazon sales rank numbers are a bit of a red herring. As you know, the sales rank measures relative ranking. So if a person writes a book that has a small target market (say a medical specialty book), then that book is not going to make it to the top 10, top 100 or even the top 1000 because it’s competing with the likes of Harry Potter. Generally, fiction outsells non-fiction so the chances of a non-fiction author breaking into the top 10 and staying there are remote. In that sense, even before a book is published, you can tell if it has a shot at the top 10 or not.

    In my opinion, what really counts is the number of readers/customers you get for your book, in relation to your target market. In the case of the hangman game, so far, 869 people have played the games I’ve created. Given the relatively small target audience of my book (compared to fiction books), and the interactive nature of the game, this is definitely good exposure for my book.

    FYI my book once made it to the top 100 on Apart from BookBuzzr, I don’t have any other marketing initiatives. But I generally don’t care too much about Amazon sales rank numbers. What I do care about is the improvement in sales rank, because that tells me a sale has been made.

    The thing about marketing is this: you can take a horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink. The most a marketing effort can do is to put the product in front of a customer. Then, the product (in this case, a book) also has to do some work in selling itself.

  4. A year and a half after this post was written, I have discovered that other people have discovered that John Locke paid for reviewers – and also talked his reviewers into buying his book.

    That is what other people have written. Not me. But I am saying that if that was how he got started, I do not want to emulate his marketing strategy. Or believe anything he says in his book.

  5. Hey Emily,

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and comment.
    Yes. I also learnt that John Locke paid for reviews. And that act indeed deserves to be condemned.
    However, to say that every one of John Locke’s advice on book promotion is wrong is probably over doing it. People have their shades of grey. Take what’s useful and reject the rest.



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