Building buzz is a tease much in the same way that stripping is a tease. If you walk into a strip club, chances are you’re going to see seductive women (or men) you can never have take off their clothes. They’re not selling sex; they’re selling the tease.
When you’re working up to your book launch, you want to tease your readers. You want them to want your book. You want to “take the clothes off” of your book and show them just enough to get them hot. You’re not promising them fulfillment (not yet), but you are trying to get them excited. That’s what they’re looking for. They want to want your book. You want them to want your book. Even when they can’t have it—not yet.
You want them to want it so bad that they look for it. You want them to want it so bad that they talk about it. You want them to want it so bad that they post about it on their blog, on their social media sites, and wherever else they can get the word out. You want them engaged and even a bit impatient.
You want to tease them. That’s how you build buzz. You get people excited, and you get them talking. In order to do that, you need to reveal something exciting. You need to “take the clothes off” and you need to do it in a way that appeals to their literary impulses. You also need to give them something to talk about. You want them to feel like they have something that others don’t and they want to share it.
How you do this is going to depend a great deal on what you’re offering. Sure, as strip clubs know all too well, sex sells. But you don’t want to promise something seductively sexual if it’s not a big part of your book. That’ll just lead to getting the wrong readers, and with you inevitably disappointing them. Sex, of course, isn’t the only thing that sells, but no matter what trips your trigger you can’t just go around promising something you’re not going to deliver.
So, take the clothes off of your book. Show readers what’s going on underneath that cover. Those readers who are most likely to be excited by what they see are those that are most likely to be satisfied when they finally get their hands on it. What exited you enough to tell this story? What excited you while you were writing it? What kept you going through all those brain-draining revisions? That’s what you want to tease your readers with, and, if you do it well, your readers will find you, they’ll talk about you, and they’ll build buzz for you.