Getting People to Read Your Book
I’ve said many times on this blog that we are all salespeople. Everyone along the chain of writing, publishing and selling books has the ultimate goal of getting the book into the hands of the end user – the reader. In order to do that, we have to sell our stuff.
From the query letter you send to an agent, to the final cover and flap copy on your book as it sits on the shelf in Barnes & Noble, everything about the way your book is presented is aimed at convincing someone to take a chance on it. The agent takes a chance, the publisher takes a chance, the bookstore takes a chance, and finally, the consumer risks their hard-earned money on the hope that they’re going to love your book.
This is why your sales language is so important. Nobody knows your book better than you do! You are the expert on it. The sales copy starts with you, and you have the best chance of accurately conveying your story to a stranger. Often, the flap copy that ends up on your book, as well as catalog copy, ad copy, press releases and other sales language, is based on what you write when you’re first trying to get a publisher.
It’s not just the query letter, but there’s also the “elevator pitch” which is the brief verbal pitch you can give an agent or editor at a conference when they ask you “what’s your book about?”
Then there’s the tagline or one-sentence pitch that you’d give an acquaintance or a stranger at a cocktail party when they find out you’re a writer and ask that same question. You don’t want to freeze up at those moments!
Of course, if your sales job is effective, you may earn the privilege of someone actually reading the first pages of your book – whether an agent or a consumer standing in the bookstore trying to decide whether to buy it. And guess what? Those opening pages are an incredibly important sales tool, too. It’s not just agents who make quick decisions. Your average reader does, too. It’s crucial to capture them in those first pages.
You may not like the idea of “selling” but as an author, you really want people to read your work, right? There are ways you convince them to do just that.
Believe it or not, there are specific strategies you can use to create the best possible sales language for your book, and there are identifiable elements in effective opening pages.
All of this can be learned!
I only have 90 minutes to teach this stuff in my Webinar tomorrow, but I’ll do my best to pack in as much as possible during that time. I’ll cover taglines, queries, elevator pitches, and opening pages – giving you concrete strategies as well as examples. My goal is to give you usable, easy to implement tricks and techniques for capturing your novel or memoir in the very best light.
I hope you can join me!
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent