What Are You Promising?

The November issue of the CSPA Circular, Christian Small Publisher Association’s monthly e-newsletter, contains an article on “Four Steps to Effective Book Marketing.” In this article, I set forth the proposition that every book is a business. Therefore, launching a new book is like opening a startup business.


Every business needs a brand, a promise they make to their customers. So too, your book must make a promise to your readers.

Consider some of these brand promises that you already are familiar with:

  • 7up: The uncola.
  • American Express: Don’t leave home without it.
  • eBay: The world’s online marketplace.
  • KFC: Nobody does chicken like KFC.
  • Jaguar: Don’t dream it. Drive it.
  • Lucky Charms: Magically delicious.

Each of these brands or products is promising you something, something different from their competition. Your book must also promise something different from the competition.

All services or products offer a benefit. That benefit fits into one of the following categories:

  • Economic
  • Emotional
  • Experiential
  • Functional

Think about this. Walmart, with its promise “always low prices,” offers an economic benefit. One of the US Forest Service slogans’ offers an emotional experience. That slogan is “give a hoot, don’t pollute.” Nike offers an experiential benefit with their “just do it.” You can experience the difference Nike makes in helping you get active. FedEx offers a functional benefit with “the world on time.” You know your packages will get delivered on time.

Your book must offer a benefit, or people won’t buy it. What is your book’s benefit? Is it functional or it is emotional? Most fiction books will have an emotional or experiential benefit, while most nonfiction books will tote an economic or functional benefit.

What promise are you making with your book? It needs to be something that your audience cares about that they can’t get anywhere else. Don Miller, the bestselling author of Blue Like Jazz and the founder of StoryBrand Workshops, says, “If you confuse, you lose.” So, too, your book’s promise not only needs to be unique, it also needs to be clear and simple, much like the examples from the businesses listed above.

Related Posts:
A Branding Lesson from a Radio Station
Do You Have a Catchy Slogan?
Marketing Gimmicks

Bookmark and Share

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.