Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, even in the world of publishing.
For example, did you know that the marketing language most publishers create for their books is rarely written by the marketing department? Instead, an editor with little marketing experience or a freelance writer outside the company is tasked with creating this important copy. This practice may explain why so many books display such ineffective, boring marketing text.
Why is it ineffective? Most editors and freelance writers are never trained to think from a consumer’s point of view. Editors may be good at explaining what’s inside the book. But, consumers make their purchasing decisions based on a deeper question, “What’s in it for me?”
Most consumers are not satisfied with just an explanation of a non-fiction book’s content or a novel’s plot. They want to know why the book will be a worthwhile investment of their time and money. What is the beneficial result to be experienced from reading a particular book? Convince me of the potential result I could enjoy, and I’ll feel more inclined to make the purchase.
Yet, the vast majority of book descriptions that I’ve examined never answer this critical purchasing question. And, I’ve reviewed hundreds of titles from the major publishers. The practice of asking untrained editors or freelancers to write bland marketing copy hurts publishers and authors in two ways:
1. Consumers are less likely to purchase when they can’t tell “what’s in it for me.”
2. Consumers are less likely to spread word of mouth when they don’t know how to tell a friend “what’s in it for them.”
Publishers could sell more books by displaying marketing copy that is oriented towards the way consumers think. And, it doesn’t matter who writes this copy, as long as that editor, freelancer, author, or marketing director is trained to understand the consumer’s perspective. Even better, this type of training doesn’t require a big expense or a major capital investment. Just learn to think like consumers think.
Truth may be stranger than fiction, but publishers would sell a lot more fiction (and non-fiction) if they return to common sense. Don’t just tell readers what’s in your books. Tell the reader what’s in it for them.
For good examples of persuasive marketing copy for fiction and non-fiction, see these titles:
Boring photo courtesy of Shutterstock.