A couple weeks ago, I wrote a blog post titled “It’s Okay Not to Know”. In this post, I talked about how we all start at the same place—not knowing much about writing, publishing, and marketing books. We are all on a journey and we need each other so we can learn and grow. In my post, I encouraged readers to ask if they don’t know.
One reader, Elsa, a member of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) took my advice to heart. Elsa is new at publishing books. She recently purchased a cooperative ad through one of the many membership benefits CSPA offers. For the ad, we requested a 50-word description of the book.
Elsa put together sales text for her book ad. She asked me to give my input on her ad text as this was the first time she had put one together for the book. She reminded me that I had encouraged newbies to ask questions in my recent blog post.
I was happy to provide Elsa some feedback on her sales text. After all, she is a member of Christian Small Publishers Association and was purchasing a service CSPA provides. Here is what Elsa wrote for her original ad copy about a book titled The Listening Book by James Webb.
Jesus reached out to us using parables—and we can do the same. Quirky tales of a strange troll, troublesome blackbirds, and hidden treasure keep you coming back for more. Have you ever tried saying to someone: ‘That reminds me of a story’? Try it sometime—and see what happens.
I gave Elsa the following feedback on this advertising copy:
1. Sales text needs to be emotional. Purchases are not a logical decision. They are largely an emotional decision. Sales text for ads and other marketing materials should have an emotional pull. Warm emotions work better for pulling people in than cold emotions. Elsa’s use of “quirky” felt fairly cold. Why would readers be drawn to read “quirky” stories? Most people would rather read “heartwarming” or “inspiring” stories (that’s why Chicken Soup for the Soul series is so wildly popular).
2. Answer the WIIFM question. WIIFM stands for “What’s in it for me?” Elsa’s sales text doesn’t make it clear what I would get out of reading this book. Her sales text needs to address what benefit her audience will get through buying and reading this book.
3. Include a call to action. Good sales text includes a call to action. Elsa’s original sales text had a call to action—telling someone ‘that reminds me of a story’—which has nothing to do with reading or buying the book. The call to action in good sales text should encourage the reader to read and purchase the book.
Elsa took my thoughts to heart and rewrote her sales text. Below is the revised ad copy.
Jesus reached out to us using parables—and we can do the same. Have you ever said to someone: ‘That reminds me of a story’? These 25 beautifully illustrated short stories include seeds and sofas, treasure and tragedy. They offer precious nuggets of personal encouragement and help us reach out to others with the truths of God’s kingdom.
I found Elsa’s rewrite much clearer. It has warmer emotions and includes a strong message about why her audience should read this book.
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