Effective copywriting is an often-overlooked aspect of marketing a book, particularly online. Before you write your first word, consider your reader. Ideally, you have been thinking about your reader throughout the writing of your book, so you have a picture firmly planted in your brain. Ask yourself a few questions. Who is the ideal reader of your book? Why would he or she buy it?
Now, brainstorm all the possible benefits the reader would get from reading your book. Make sure you understand the difference between a feature and a benefit. A feature is a fact about a product. For example, a watch might have a button you can press so the dial lights up. (So what?) A benefit focuses on the results you enjoy by taking advantage of the feature. The benefit of a watch face that lights up is that you can check the time even in a dark place like a movie theater. The result is you don’t have to run into the lobby to check the time, and you won’t be late picking up your daughter at the mall.
With a nonfiction book, it’s fairly easy to focus your copy on the results someone gets from reading the information. For example, our Vegan Success cookbook helps people get a tasty dinner on the table quickly. So the kids or spouse won’t be whining for dinner and you won’t have to slave for hours to make a healthy meal.
The goal of your copy is to explain to prospective purchasers why they should buy your book. How will it make someone’s life better? You should include these elements to persuade someone to buy.
1. Compelling headline. The headline needs to both capture attention and showcase the book’s most important benefit.
2. Description of the problem or problems your book helps the reader solve. You want prospective purchasers to recognize themselves in your copy. (“That’s me!”)
3. Detailed information about the book and why it is ideally suited to solve the reader’s problem. You must include clear descriptions of all the benefits of your book. What results will readers get? Also make sure you include information about the physical aspects of the book. Often it’s hard to tell from sales copy whether it’s a book or an ebook. Answer any common objections or questions people may have about purchasing.
4. Information about your credentials. Why should the reader listen to you?
5. Proof from other people that the book has helped them. Testimonials, reviews, and other mentions in the media are great credibility boosters.
6. Pricing information. Don’t make people click through to your shopping cart to find out how much the book costs. Also be clear about shipping information and where you do and do not ship.
7. Call to action. Just as every sales letter or Web site begins with a headline, it must end with a call to action. Don’t be shy; tell people to buy now!
Copywriting takes practice, but if you include these seven items, you’re well on your way to crafting enticing copy that works to sell your book.