It would seem obvious that authors are great at writing wouldn’t it? Well, yes. They’re fantastic at writing stories; creating a whole new world and a host of entertaining characters that readers just can’t get enough of. But, working closely with authors on the marketing and publicity of their book, we know just how difficult writing marketing copy can be – it’s a whole different ball game and one that authors can often struggle to get to grips with.
So, what exactly is marketing copy? Marketing copy can be anything from press releases to email pitches, and from a blurb to a social media post. Whenever you are trying to promote your book in writing, you are writing marketing copy. And, if you want to make sales or get reviews, that marketing copy needs to be persuasive.
In this blog Assistant Marketing Manager, Philippa, shares her hints and tips to help make your marketing copy completely irresistible.
Think about your reader:
It’s time for some home truths. Brace yourself – you might not want to read this…
1. You are not your reader’s priority. In today’s world, there are a million and one things that we need or want to do. Your book is not likely to be top of that list so you need to be prepared to work even harder to get your reader’s attention.
2. You are not the only person talking to your reader. It’s never been easier to publish a book, which is fantastic for authors, but it’s also a double-edged sword. The competition you are up against has never been greater and you’ll need to fight against a sea of other books to get yours noticed.
3. Your reader is lazy. They don’t want to have to work to find the information or to get themselves interested. As the author and marketeer of your book, you need to make life as easy as possible for your reader, which means hard work for you…
But don’t panic! If you spend time identifying your readers and tailoring your writing to them, it is possible to fight your way through the crowd. Arguably the most important aspect of marketing copy is thinking about who you are talking to. Who is your reader? What are they interested in? What do they care about? Why do they need to hear from you? For example, your reader isn’t interested in the same thing as your local radio station. Once you know who you’re pitching to, it’ll be a lot easier to start writing.
Stand out from the crowd:
Even the best marketing team fall into the trap of using the same old clichés and try to sell us yet another ‘gripping thriller’ or ‘heartwarming romance’ and it can be tempting to rely on phrases we all recognise in your own marketing activities. Thinking of ways to set your book apart can be tough, but it is so worthwhile. Think about how you can reposition your book so it stands out from the crowd and grabs your reader’s attention. Instead of a gripping crime thriller, think about a catchphrase that describes your book individually. If your contemporary fiction novel is heartwarming, don’t just tell us that – tell us how/why!
Make it emotional:
Humans are an inherently emotional species and anyone working in marketing knows that you can use this to your advantage. Think about the following:
Greed – We want to know how something will benefit us before we invest our time and effort. Think about what your reader will gain from reading your book and use that to encourage them to read. Imagine your reader is standing in front of you and asking ‘what’s in it for me?’ Have your pitch ready to convince them.
Curiosity – We’re all nosy, right? Try posing your readers a question they cannot answer unless they read your book. What drove Harry to quit his job and become a juggling astronaut? I don’t know yet, but I sure want to find out and I‘ll have to read your new novel to do so!
FOMO – Ah fear of missing out. We all get it. Your reader does too. You want to convince them that they need to read your book, because everyone else is. Ok you might only have made minimal sales, so don’t lie and tell people you’re a bestseller, but you’ve got a great Amazon review from a real-life reader. If other people are enjoying your book, this new reader might just be tempted to pick up a copy themselves.
Writing great marketing copy might be a different skill than writing a book, but you can still use your writing techniques to get people interested. Think about the different writing techniques that you love to use – will these work in your blurb or press release too? Using your own natural writing rhythm will give your reader a sense of your writing. If they like what they read, they might want to find out more.
Cut it down!
Working closely with authors we know how much they struggle to cut down what they want to say. You’ve written your book, you love your book; you want everyone to know everything that makes your book so fantastic. One of the most common mistakes authors make when marketing their book is trying to tell the whole story.
Whether it’s a blurb, a media pitch or even a social media post to your readers, you should leave them wanting more. Think of your audience and tailor what you want to say, based on what will intrigue them. You know the most exciting bits of your book, the crucial plot elements that make your work unique, and it can be tempting to try and squash all of these into your blurb. But you shouldn’t. Think of your blurb or pitch as an appetiser before the delicious main course. Write down your description. Then read it and cut it down. Then cut it down even more. Then – yep, you got it – cut it down again. After a few goes at that, you should have an intriguing piece of writing that leaves the reader wondering: ‘What happens next?’
As with anything, writing good marketing copy takes time and practice. We hope the advice above helps you to get started on your copywriting journey!