Nobody wants to read. Nobody cares about your book. What people TRULY want is to improve THEIR lives. The only reason someone may find your story interesting is how it relates to them. The old radio station, WIIFM (what’s in it for me) is the most popular thought on the planet.
Most non-fiction authors, however, start with themselves.
Over 250,000 new books come onto the market each year. 99.9% of them never see the light of day. As a publisher and marketing professional, I’ve seen a growing trend with non-fiction authors.
It’s all about their story.
While it’s true that stories sell and stories are easier to remember than facts and lessons, it is only when that story has an emotional trigger in the heart of the reader that causes them to engage. This is equally true for fiction and non-fiction.
Fiction authors entertain people. It is that entertainment that causes us to laugh, cry or stay up and finish that page-turning mystery.
What can non-fiction authors learn from John Grisham, J.K. Rowling and other wildly successful fiction authors?
However, non-fiction authors are required to pull double duty. In addition to entertaining their readers, the stories they share must lead to a lesson or action-based nugget the reader can use to improve their lives.
Unfortunately, most non-fiction authors believe their stories are so interesting that people will be compelled to share them on their own merit. Or equally worse, that the lessons embedded in the stories they share are earth-shatteringly new and undiscovered.
Unless you have invented a cure for cancer, most likely your “lesson” or message has been told before. That does not mean it shouldn’t be told, however. What people need to hear is your perspective on that message.
Ever heard of the book and movie, “The Secret?” There were scores of people who thought this was ground-breaking work on human potential, change and self-development. Entire industries were re-born using the “Law of Attraction” that was presented in such a captivating manner.
Have you heard of “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill? He discussed the law of attraction in detail. That book was first published in the 30’s.
Oh wait! How about James Allen and his book, “As a Man Thinketh?” Or how about the “The Science of Success” by Wallace Wattles? Each of these books were written years before “The Secret.” The law of attraction isn’t new. You see, the more you peel the layers of onion back, you will discover that there isn’t much raw content that hasn’t already been in print.
Note: The law of attraction, like so much timeless wisdom was also written in another classic long before Wattles or Hill discussed it. It was clearly mentioned in the Bible.
I’m not suggesting there are not any new ideas, it is simply that all ideas have a history.
What makes all content (regardless of it’s age or proliferation) interesting and useful is perspective.
You could easily re-print Wallace Wattles book, “The Science of Success” and read about the law of attraction is his book. However, the style and prose with which Wattles wrote doesn’t resonate with modern day audiences.
It was Rhonda Byrne’s fresh perspective on an age-old wisdom that gave a strong rebirth to this concept. Which brings us back to you and your book.
How are you going to position your message?
What perspective can you bring to hit the reader on an emotional level?
How can you cause the reader to go to your landing page and ask for more?
You don’t have to be a degreed psychologist to answer, either. There is more timeless wisdom that needs to be re-packaged and used by all authors.
Unfortunately, most authors get so excited about their ideas and their book, they forget that people not only have to read it, but their message has to compete with other, more experienced author/marketers. Generally speaking, there are two paths to properly positioning your message.
Option #1. You write the book, perhaps spending years doing it. You hire an editor and polish the manuscript as best you can. You can blog about your message, create some videos and use your instincts to reach your fan base and engage with them.
Option #2. You have the idea for the book. You test the idea, with people who might actually buy it. Your blog asks questions. Your videos ask for comments. You launch a kickstarter campaign and use the feedback you receive to shape the book to readers’ desires, and then produce the book which they have essentially requested.
Most indie authors, because they are motivated by passion, start off with option #1. Either path is “marketable,” but the results are quite different. With option #1, determination and anecdotal research is used as your foundation. When you lay the ground work ahead of time, as in option #2, you’ve properly blended art with science. Knowing what your readers truly want will give you insight and proof as to your product’s message, price points and outcomes.
The answer to marketing your book, therefore, lies not in how you blog about your content or put up a pretty Facebook page. If you want readers, fans and customers, the most important aspect of marketing happens before your book is even created. Tap into the hearts of your readers before you even start your book.
The best marketing is done before your book is even started.
Guest post by Douglas A Crowe
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