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Is that George Clooney?

Posted by Maria Murnane | July 29, 2011

If a complete stranger walked up to you on the street and said, “I’ve written a scary novel that is a real page turner…You should totally buy it,” chances are you’d nod politely and quickly walk away. However, if that same person pointed across the street and said, “Is that George Clooney?” I’m willing to bet you’d turn and look. Am I right?

The same principle applies to book marketing. Whether your work is fiction or nonfiction, to get people to pay attention you need to come up with a brief, compelling description. In industry jargon, this is called a “hook,” and a good one will encourage your target audience to pick up a copy of your book and start reading. Now.

Here are some excellent examples I’ve seen:

  • Easy-to-follow financial advice for young professionals just getting started
  • A thriller set in a small town where the women have mysteriously stopped having children
  • A step-by-step guide for women looking to re-enter the workforce after raising kids
  • A must-read for anyone who has ever run into an ex looking like crap (full disclosure alert: this one is for Perfect on Paper!)

As you begin your marketing efforts, the first thing everyone is going to ask you is “What is your book about?” so it’s important to get this down early. You can tweak and refine as you learn what resonates with readers, but you should have something ready from the get-go. And even if you do zero marketing (which I don’t recommend!), people in your life are inevitably going to ask you this question as well, so it’s worth taking the time to prepare an answer.

Remember: the description doesn’t have to appeal to everyone, but it should pique the interest of those who would most enjoy your book.

-Maria

This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. For more helpful articles and blogs for authors, visit CreateSpace Resources.

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