Tuesday, April 9, 2013

How to Make People Want to Read Your Book

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director, Southern Writers Magazine

Perhaps the most valuable lesson in advertising and sales is the realization that nobody wants to spend money. However, they can be persuaded to spend it in a number of ways. And the most time-tested way to do that is to make them believe that your product will change their life.
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That sounds like a daunting challenge, if not an impossible task altogether, but in truth, it isn't necessary to change their entire existence, you merely have to suggest that you will improve it in some way. The principle behind this is called "Don't sell soap, sell hope."

Let's go right to the source and see how they do it. Dove Soap knows better than to simply tell you their product will get you clean. They enhance the appeal with phrases like, "It's a refreshing, uplifting sensation for your skin." Irish Spring tells guys they'll get "healthy feelng skin the lasses can't keep their hands off" (which, appropriately, even slides a little Irish lingo into the suggestion).

Simply put, the buyer merely needs assurance that your product will enhance their life somehow. So how can you convince someone that reading your book or subscribing to your blog will change their life for the better? Ask yourself what the reader really wants.

If you write fiction, it would be easy to write off this analysis by declaring that they just want a good read, and since you've written a good read, end of story. On the surface, there's truth in that, but go deeper into the reader's dreams if you want to stand out from the quarter of a million other books that will be published this year.

Show them that your love story will transport them to an exotic locale where they'll experience the greatest romance they've ever known.  Convince them that they'll share great adventures with your master detective and unlock the mysteries of life.  Let them know there's a refreshing escape from the hum-drum of daily life ahead for them if they'll just indulge in your book. 

Hope floats.  Sometimes just barely.
Do you write nonfiction? You'll find it even easier to target your reader's desires. They don't want to just learn how to use Excel, they want to become the recognized sultan of spreadsheets in their circle. Rather than merely learning the basics of home repair, they want to know they'll save hundreds of dollars and gain the confidence of their adoring spouse next time the toilet backs up.

It isn't hard to communicate the implied promises of your book. A cover that conveys the right atmosphere can pull a reader in before the title even registers. Then the right title (and perhaps subtitle, if nonfiction) should reel them in. Beyond that, make sure your back cover and Amazon description convinces a potential reader that your book will provide an experience they cannot live without. Do that, and you've made a sale.

There are lots of reasons why people will want to buy your book.  Hone in on those motivations by selling them hopenot soapand you just might clean up.


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