Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Morning Marketing Tip - "To Describe is Not to Market"

Rob Eagar's Monday Morning Marketing Tip
is written to help authors, businesses, and non-profits
spread their message like wildfire.

This week's focus:

During a recent visit to a bookstore, I perused over 20 books on the current New York Times bestseller list. Surprisingly, the majority of these books suffered from a similar problem. Their back cover copy told you what the book was about, but never described the results you could receive. Regardless of the genre, the covers offered plenty of information about the book's topic, plot, genre, and special features. But, almost none of the text I read ever explained "What's in it for me?" This lack of crucial information leaves readers scratching their head trying to figure that answer out on their own.

My bookstore visit shows how authors and publishers have confused marketing a book with describing a book. But, describing and marketing are two radically different issues. And, publishers of the world's bestselling books are missing this key distinction, which means they're missing out on a lot of extra sales and leaving a lot of money on the table. Worse, it's a fair assumption that all of their other books carry the same problem. If publishers aren't concerned with creating powerful marketing copy for an anticipated bestseller, they're not going to do it for the rest of their titles.

Here's the rub: book shoppers don't care what a book is about. Their primary concern is determining if a book is worth their time and money. When they scan a book's cover, they're wanting to see if it communicates how their life will be bettered through entertainment, inspiration, or information?

Marketing is not the process of describing a topic, genre, or list of features. In contrast, marketing is the process of emotionally engaging a customer by explaining what's in it for them. All promotional material, such as back cover copy, website text, and catalog information, should focus on satisfying that primary consumer question. Otherwise, you're not marketing, you're just describing. Avoid this mistake and stop leaving money on the table. When you provide marketing text that's effective, you won't have readers standing in the aisles of bookstores scratching their heads in confusion. Instead, you'll have readers lining up at the cash register.

Upcoming Opportunities:

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Next Teleconference Session for Authors:

"O Reader, Where Art Thou?"

Wednesday, February 22nd, 8:00pm ET

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Mary DeMuth said...

Are you talking about nonfiction or fiction here? Because with fiction it's a whole different beast. Novel readers want a teaser of the plot. They want to know what the book's about.

Robert Treskillard said...


If you are talking about fiction, do you have an example of a book with excellent cover copy that "emotionally engages a customer by explaining what's in it for them"?



Rob Eagar said...

Mary and Robert,

Thanks for your questions. Yes, my post today applies to fiction, because people want to know more than just the plot line for your novels. More importantly, they want to know if your stories will be worth their time and money invested.

Mary, you could take your value statements and weave them into your plot description. Don't just tell readers the setup for your story. Go a step further and tell readers what kind of results your story offers.

Robert, per your question about a novel to see as a good example, check out the book description for Anne Perry's bestselling novel, "No Graves As Yet." Here's the Amazon link:

Keep your questions coming. Thanks!

Robert Treskillard said...

Thanks for the example... that really helped me understand what you mean. And tThis is timely advice for me as I was just putting together recommended "back cover copy" for my novel.