We would love to tell you that all readers are motivated by a pure interest in hearing your story and supporting you as an author. But honestly, those traits likely only apply to one person… your mother. The truth is that readers choose books based on the question “What’s in it for me?” In the same way that people purchase food to satisfy their hunger and hire plumbers to fix their drains, readers buy books that will do something for them: either entertain, inspire or educate.
While the idea of self-interest may seem greedy, it has been proven to be one of the greatest generators of capitalistic societies, such as the one we enjoy in the United States. In his acclaimed work The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Scottish philosopher Adam Smith notes that free markets are enabled by the self-interest of its laborers:
It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
With this information in hand, we must change our approach to marketing, In his book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, Rob Eager states:
You will maximize the power of your marketing when you take the focus off yourself and place it on satisfying the self-interests of others. Let go of the idea that the public may be fascinated that you’re an author. Concentrate on answering their internal question: ‘What’s in it for me?’
So what does this look like practically?
1. Offer expert insight
When searching for a recipe, why do we often seek out successful chefs’ cookbooks? Because we want assurance that the recipe is tried and true and will turn out just as expected. In the same way, your reader has a problem they are trying to solve. They need an expert to help them. They don’t want advice from a novice.
I’m not expert, you may be thinking. But wait. Have you experienced something, learned from it and come through the other side with fresh insight and wisdom? Then you are an expert in that subject.
- Have you walked through a difficult divorce and found wholeness and healing? You’re an expert.
- Have you started a business, launched a product or been promoted through your field? You’re an expert.
- Have you walked through infertility, miscarriage, or extended singleness and still found God to be faithful? You’re an expert.
Leverage these experiences to offer hope, help and tips to those who are at the beginning of a similar journey.
2. Offer value
Tell the reader specifically what value your book offers.
Instead of saying:
This book chronicles my experience with cancer,
I will help you face cancer as an informed and empowered patient.
Which would you be more likely to purchase?
Rob Eager suggests using “value statements” in your marketing. These statements begin with the phrase “I will help you _________,” such as:
- I will help you live with confidence instead of fear.
- I will help your company build teams that finish tasks faster with less conflict.
- I will help you regain the pain-free life you used to enjoy.
3. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes
Who is your reader? Why are they looking for a book on your subject? What problem are they trying to solve? One of the best ways to put yourself in your reader’s shoes is to think back to why you chose to write your book. Rob Eager asks:
What was the big reason that drove you to expend so much mental and emotional effort? consider the central reasons you were motivated to write you book. Had you recently overcome a challenge? Did you see injustice that needed to be addressed? Were you moved by the headlines that laid the foundation for a compelling story? If you experienced a personal result in your own life that led you to write your book, then that same result is probably true for many of you readers…
Thus, examine how the message of your book improved your own life. then use that knowledge to write powerful value statements for others.
At Certa Publishing, we see every day the value that our authors offer. We are passionate about helping you spread your message and attract as many readers as possible. Contact us today to see how we can partner with you.