WHAT’S YOUR BOOK ABOUT?
Do you have an answer? If you do I’ll bet it’s the wrong one. Mine was.
As soon as someone finds out you are writing a book, hands down, this is the first question they will ask. Writers spend so much time alone, so entrenched in characters and plot, any opportunity to gush all the gory details to a living, breathing body is tempting.
The problem? They don’t want to hear about it.
This was news to me too.
So if a potential reader doesn’t want to hear about what happened to your character when he was five, how do you answer that question?
WHAT DO READERS REALLY WANT TO KNOW?
After reading Rob Eager’s book “Sell your book like Wildfire” I learned a very important thing. When someone asks what your book is about, what they really want to know is: What’s in it for me?
Sure they’re curious about your book, but they’re more interested in making a decision that benefits them. Is it worth their time and money to read what you’ve written? Eager suggests to take the focus of you and look to satisfying the interests of others.
How do you that?
BECOME AN EXPERT
If people trust you, they will listen and they will read. In non-fiction writing, this is slightly easier to manifest since a writer will usually have experience in the topic they are writing about and can offer insight, nuggets and wisdom to readers. As a fiction writer, you can become an expert by initially writing books within a cohesive brand umbrella.
The rationale for this is it’s far easier to build an audience when they know what to expect. This doesn’t mean you get stuck in a rut writing the same things over and over. Nor do you have to stay trapped in a genre. But if your first book is a sci-fi thriller, it will be challenging to market a period piece, bodice-ripping romance to these same readers.
In today’s attention deficit environment, getting any traction is vital and losing momentum with readers can be detrimental to a continuing career.
So think long and hard about your brand, what you really want to write about. This will define and shape your career and make it easier to find, and market to, your readers
HOW TO FIND YOUR TRIBE
So where do these elusive readers hide out? Are they gnomes under the bridge or a toadstool? Readers are everywhere, and it’s your responsibility to find them. Luckily, this is easier than ever with the internet and social media.
On meetup.com you can find hundreds of groups interested in everything from LGBT events to stock trading to Korean cuisine. What groups would be interested in reading your book? This doesn’t mean you show up at an event with books to sell. It’s about spreading the word organically, with some nuance. Integrate yourself, find allies and make yourself known to a community.
Social media platforms such as Instagram offer clever ways, such as hashtags, to target market your messages. Hashtags can test your message to different trending groups and/or find influencers who can spread the word on your behalf. If you luck out and your message goes viral, it can make or break you.
If you aren’t using social media, you’re losing out on an invaluable way to spread your message. It’s an effective way to reach groups and individuals not in your regular sphere. But SM isn’t a one street and it does take time to build a following. Block an hour or two every week and craft your upcoming messages and interact with others! Be authentic in your engagement and don’t get discouraged. It can take months and lots of trial and error to get the impact you want.
In anticipation of my first book coming out, I have started the branding and social media process and it’s been an interesting ride so far. The feedback and growth I have had on social media has been exponential in the past five months.
By focusing on thoughtful and though provoking content, instead of selfies and ‘look at me’ posts, I’ve been able to intrigue and inspire rather than just filling space. Bottom line: Use your SM savvy! Don’t post five times a day if you don’t need to. Sometimes less is more.
It’s also vital to take time to define your brand because as Eagar explains in his book, if you don’t brand yourself someone else will. Think of your message, your style and who your readers are. Craft a value statement you can use at a networking event or as an introductory elevator pitch.
And remember….when someone asks you what your book is about, now you know what to say.
Now, start promoting!