I know a lot of you are waiting for my next nonfiction for writers: Ebook Success: Joan Sells & Tells All.
I'm working on it and a novel that I hope to publish this month. I'm afraid Ebook Success: Joan Sells & Tells All won't be available until after my daughter's wedding next month. I'm just bogged down with wedding details and events.
Also, I've written so much about this subject that I'm trying to figure out what to delete since I don't think a 500 page volume is called for. Therefore, I must beg your indulgence and patience.
Today, I offer an excerpt from the book.
Book Marketing Holy Trinity
There are 3 main elements that determine your book's initial sales success. None of these 3, which I call the Book Marketing Holy Trinity, is actually the content. You see, the content of the book determines whether it continues selling over a long period of time, and the content also determines the sales success of your next book.
Here are what I think are the 3 crucial elements for successful initial sales, and all 3 must "equal each other." Let me explain.
1. Cover Art
3. Product Description
You know that your cover art should be appealing and eye-catching. Cover art should also show exactly what kind of book the buyer gets in terms of genre, mood or tone--some call it style.
Is your book a sexy, humorous contemporary romance? Does the cover show that? Mystery thriller? Horror? Western? Books aimed at a female audience often get confused. A sexy cover on a women's fiction book is misleading just as roses and a pastoral scene on a steamy romance falls way short of the goal.
The cover should clearly depict the genre. But wait, there's more. The cover also should show the tone or mood of the book. It should show whether it's a humorous romance or a serious romance.
Remember back in the late 1990's when chick lit and romantic comedy ruled publishing? Just about all those books had "cartoon" covers to clearly indicate to the reader that the book was fun, humorous and romantic.
A cover should show whether a horror book is a humorous zombie like the movie Shaun of the Dead or a more cerebral horror like The Walking Dead. Same with mystery--funny or a gritty, hard-edged detective mystery. A good book cover should somehow indicate the mood, tone, or style of the book.
Additionally, the book cover should be specific and relate in some visual way to your story--not to any horror or mystery or romance. What in the book is depicted on the cover? A scene? The characters? Some emotional aspect?
The cover is more than a picture. The font used for the book title should visually tie to the story and the genre too. Click this link and look at the title font Cynthia Wicklund used for Thief of Souls. See how the letters looked cracked or fractured as if riddled with fault lines. That perfectly depicts the male protagonist whose exquisite features belie the evil.
(Note: The font used for the author name can be used for branding purposes, but that's a different article.)
If you need some more examples of this crucial element, look at some of the bestsellers in the same genre in which you write. Do they illustrate what I mean? Chances are the books selling the best over the longest period of time will do just that.
Every author begins a book with a working title. Often, with print publishing, that title changes according to editorial discretion. With indie self-publishing, you can keep your title, but be aware that the title should equal the cover art and the Product Description.
If you've got a funny cover, the title should reflect that. If you've got a somber cover, the same holds true. In fact, a good title should reflect the book and the cover art or in some way distil the essence of the story into those few words. I'm going to use my books as examples here because I know them best.
My first ebook was Just One Look. This is a great title for this book because there are layers to the meaning of the title. A lot of people think it's just that old song "Just One Look" so that's okay if it makes them take a look at this romantic comedy. That's also okay because it's a rocking, fun oldie.
However, the title actually refers to these facts: the gynecologist in the opening scene--who happens to be the heroine's high school heart throb--says to the heroine who recognizes him with just one look at his face and only to get the heck out of there: "Let's just take one look."
At another point in the story, he takes just one look at her, and because of the particular circumstances, belatedly recognizes her.
My reason for selecting The Trouble With Love (Texas One Night Stands) for the first book in my Texas One Night Stands series is because "love is fraught with trouble" is the theme running through the book. If you want to find out what the heroine thinks is the real trouble with love, I guess you'll have to read the book. I do confess to loving the Kelly Clarkson song by the same name. I must have listened to it a thousand times when I was writing the book.
One of my most recent books is Old Enough To Know Better. Sure, we all know that phrase. Maybe you've been told that. There are several scenes where the heroine reminds herself that she is old enough to know better than to get involved emotionally. That phrase is also integral to one of the final scenes in the book where I twist that phrase. If you've read the book, you know which scene I mean.
Down & Dirty Title Analysis
Here are a few other titles of mine and a quick analysis.
JANE I'm-Still-Single JONES says it all: embarrassing name tag for a woman at her 10 year high school reunion.
Nobody's Cinderella (Book 1 of San Antone Two-Step) is a romantic comedy about a woman who has self-image problems and who is in love with her handsome boss.
Romeo and Judy Anne (Book 2 of Texas One Night Stands) is one of my favorite titles. Romeo tells you handsome playboy. Judy Anne tells you small town Texas girl. Put them together and you have a fun incongruity that promises an adventure.
Still The One is about a man and a woman who married young and divorced shortly thereafter, but each is still the only one for the other. Another golden oldie that's a rocking, fun song which is a plus.
The Product Description should continue where the title and blurb left off. What you say in this blurb should deliver what you've promised with the title and the cover art. You don't want to stop the buyer dead in her tracks with something in the blurb that conflicts with what you promised in the title and the cover art.
Anything that confuses the buyer or conflicts will make the buyer PAUSE, and that's never good. In that pause, they are thinking: "What does this mean? That's not what the cover promises. This says the book is one thing, but the title promises another." The pause gives the reader time to change his mind rather than happily click BUY.
You want the reader to say a resounding yes after reading the title, viewing the cover art, and reading the blurb. You want them motivated to buy, not to think of reasons why they shouldn't buy.
With all the books available in the ebook marketplace, you have about 10 seconds to hook the reader with the title and cover art in order to get the customer to read your blurb. All 3 elements should make the reader say: "Yep. Sounds like my kind of book."
Give Me One Reason To Stay Here
That Tracy Chapman song is one of my favorites. I listened to it when I wrote Old Enough To Know Better.
Tracy sings: "Give me a reason to stay here, or I'll turn my back around."
Adopt that as your theme song when you write your Product Description. Never give the reader a reason to leave your book page without buying.
At the beginning of the blurb, give me reasons to buy your book. That means, entice me with marketing hooks that I cannot refuse.
Do you know what marketing hooks are? They are buzz words or phrases that do these 3 things:
1. create excitement about your book
2. tell the reader what kind of book it is
3. make the reader want to read the book.
In case you think great reviews are marketing hooks, let me be clear. They can be, but only if the reviews mean anything to the book browser. A lot of people who read ebooks have already learned that reviews posted on the book page may not mean much.
If you post reviews in the body of your Product Description, they may or may not be read. It's a crap shoot.
Here are some marketing hooks: runaway bride, secret baby, ugly duckling, amnesia story, debt of honor, Cinderella, evil twin, love at first sight, bad cop, ripped from the headlines, woman in jeopardy, marriage of convenience, and on and on.
Carefully read the Product Descriptions on bestselling books. Learn from them.
This post is already too long, or I'd give you my take on a sound format for Product Descriptions. Maybe next time. For now, read and digest this. Then act upon it.
Always remember: never give a reader a reason to say NO to your book.
Note: If Joan Reeves aka SlingWords helps you get ahead, please consider buying one of my books (Written Wisdom is perfect for writers--readers too!), subscribing (only $.99 per month) to the Kindle Edition of SlingWords,or making a donation of any amount by clicking the button below. Thank you for your moral support and any monetary support you see fit to contribute.