—The Blog Series: Blog 3
Part 1: Develop Your Concept
The Two Keys to a Book’s Success
A book’s success depends on two key factors.
1. Selling the book to potential readers
2. Inspiring those purchasers to network subsequent sales for you via enthusiastic word-of-mouth referrals—which is, and always will be, the best way to sell subsequent copies
Each of those sounds simple enough. Yet each involves a number of steps to achieve and several elements you need to consider and develop as you produce your book. I’ll detail those steps and elements for you, one by one.
Let’s look at the first factor—selling the book to potential readers.
To sell your book, it must grab potential readers visually and intellectually. That means your book needs compelling images and great content your business prospects want and that none of your competitors provides.
Think about a book sale from the viewpoint of a potential buyer. When you stand in a store and consider whether to purchase a nonfiction book, what parts of a book do you evaluate? If you’re like most potential buyers, you scan the row of spines on each shelf and read the titles. If a title seems promising, you slide the book out and eye its cover.
Either the cover art grabs you, or it doesn’t. Still gazing at the front cover, you skim the book’s subtitle or description, and the one-line testimonial that concisely describes and praises the book, and often suggests its target audience. You notice the name of the person who supplied that quote, a highly respected professional well known to the book’s target audience. Or, instead of a quote, you notice the wording “with a foreword by” and then the name of a prominent professional.
Next you flip the book over and scan the back-cover copy—the description of the book’s features. If you’re still interested, you’ll thumb through the opening pages. You’ll browse a few of the full-length testimonials there, the table of contents with chapter titles that reveal detailed solutions the book will provide, and finally you’ll turn to chapter one and read the first paragraphs, maybe a page or two. If all five of those parts of the book excite you, you’ll purchase the book.
Another scenario—you search online for a book that contains the information you want.
No matter how you search for the book you need, you put it through the same basic scrutiny before you buy it.
So, five parts of a book will sell it to a potential reader:
1. The cover—title, book-cover art, subtitle, one-line testimonial or foreword contributor
2. Back-cover copy
3. Testimonials—those that appear on the front and back covers, and those inside the book
4. Table of contents
5. Chapter one’s first paragraphs, maybe a page or two—the writing itself
Now your prospect purchases the book, takes it home (or has it shipped, or downloads the e-copy), and begins to read. At this point the second factor, enthusiastic word-of-mouth referrals, will decide the book’s subsequent success, and the impact the book will have on your business.
As you can imagine, your book’s internal content must be exceptional.
How you develop, organize, write, and display the internal content determines the results your book will produce for the reader who purchased it, and whether he recommends it to his friends and colleagues. This also determines whether he will seek out your next book or your other products and advance into your new-business funnel via this juicy bait.
Since both the initial book sales and the book sales that result from those—and the book sales that result from those—depend on your published product thrilling its readers in every way, your work on the manuscript must begin with careful planning.
And because your ultimate goal is to draw new customers or clients to your business, each element of your planning needs to target your prospects. So let’s begin to plan.
Thousand-Dollar Tip—Have you ever said this: “You have to read this book! The cover isn’t all that great, but the information is the best I’ve ever found on the subject”? Most of us have. Many books with poor cover designs but exceptional content often sell well. What does this mean for you? Exceptional content will generate word-of-mouth referrals. A great book cover won’t. Make your content the best it can be. That said, a book cover that captures the eye is an important key to the initial sale.
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The content for this blog series is taken from my book Business Gold: How to Write a Book to Spotlight Your Expertise, Attract a Ton of New Customers, and Explode Your Profits!, available at Amazon.com. (The publisher, Business Book Productions, is now PogoFish Media, owned by the author of this article).