Learn the five key fundamentals to writing juicier, more engaging book marketing copy *specifically* as a fiction author.
Welcome to The Paperback Podcast! I’m your host, Pagan Malcolm—young adult fiction author, writing coach and business strategist for fiction authors!
I love to combine small business systems and strategies, online marketing knowledge, and social media tactics to the world of authorpreneurship and publishing. I’ve been featured on major blogs such as Her Paper Route and Grattan Street Press for my insightful book marketing knowledge.
If you’re ready to learn how to massively uplevel your book marketing game, increase your book’s visibility, and become a publishing guru—grab a cuppa, kick back, and listen up!
I’m so excited to be kicking off today’s episode with one of my favourite topics ever—copywriting! I am so obsessed with copywriting, it’s one of my favourite things to do, and today I’m going to be sharing some juicy tips to help you make your book marketing sales copy extra juicy!
But before we dive into all of that, let’s quickly go over what exactly copywriting is! So copywriting is when you write a piece of text with the purpose of selling or advertising a product or service. So, in our case, we would use it sell our books, right?
But, it’s more than just selling a product—it’s also about increasing brand awareness and letting our ideal readers know that our product—our book—is meant for them. And so, we encourage them to take action—preferably to buy our book.
Now, you may have tried selling your book before by posting in Facebook Groups, running ads, selling on social media, etc. And chances are, if sales aren’t converting, your sales copy is a big, big part of the reason why. Most authors I see online aren’t putting out the best sales copy that they could be, and my aim today is to help you understand what drives a sale, and how to write copy in a way that speaks to your ideal reader.
I promise that it’s not that difficult—in fact, once you get the hang of it, it can become so much fun! And, to make things easier for you, I’m actually going to give away a very simple copywriting formula for you to use in your own marketing copy at the end of the episode.
It’s time for tool tip of the day—I love using tools and tips to automate my workflow and make running a business so much easier, and I aim to share one tool or tip per episode that I personally use and recommend! Today, I’m recommending Grammarly.
If you haven’t already heard of Grammarly, you need to go check it out—it’s completely free to use and it’s incredibly useful! It’s like a spell-checker in your pocket that shows up in everything you use online—emails, blog posts, you name it, it’s there.
Even better, I’ve used it before to edit my novels—now while I always recommend hiring a professional editor, Grammarly is very useful to do a quick check through your entire manuscript, because it picks up on so much more than Microsoft Word does.
If you want to check out Grammarly, I’ve got a link in the show notes so that you can easily go take a look. Make sure you do after the show.
Alright, back to it! So, now that we know what copywriting is and why it’s useful, let’s get into these tips.
Most writers I see are doing sales copy all wrong. Here are some common mistakes I see:
- Text that’s difficult to read—many authors will use custom fonts or complete capitals in their copy to try and stand out in a sea of posts, but all this does is turn the reader off.
- Trying to appeal to customer desires that don’t exist—customers don’t care if they can get the book right now because it’s only 99 cents. They want to know why they should.
- Sales copy with bold claims about a book, for example, calling it “phenomenal, emotional, thrilling”, or even calling it a “hot new release”—but having no social proof to back up those claims.
- Sales copy that is too long, or shorter copy that doesn’t attempt to sell at all.
- Finally, putting a call to action out (e.g. buy my book) without offering a good reason to buy—many authors will hit publish on Amazon and then ask a ton of people to buy the book or support them, but they haven’t given anyone a reason to care. We’ll get more into this one in a second.
So now that you’re aware of some common, fatal mistakes, let’s go over some tips for crafting compelling, sales copy:
Tip #1: Appeal To Your Target Reader’s Desires
First and foremost, you have to know who your target reader is and who you’re trying to sell to. This is the only way you’re going to be able to get inside their head and appeal to their desires.
When big, established authors market their books, they’re not trying to sell to everybody and anybody—they have a very defined niche of readers who they’re speaking to in their marketing copy. For example, Harry Potter is a fantastical children’s story intended for young readers who are interested in magic, wizards and witches, and themes of friendship. When selling, they’re trying to appeal to readers (or parents of readers) who would enjoy a story with those elements.
So you need to ask yourself:
- Who is my target reader?
- What pain point needs solving—and by this, I mean, what kind of book do they love to read and what themes, elements, or aspects of said book would draw them in?
- What do they want—and remember that this is different to what they need. What they might want is another sexy, werewolf romance, and what they might need is your book. But instead of selling your book as ‘your book’, sell it as the sexy, werewolf romance they desire.
- And, how can you speak directly to their pain points in a clear, concise, and compelling way?
Tip #2 Have An Attractive Headline
Now, this is a short and sweet tip, but it makes a big difference. The headline or first line of any marketing copy is either going to grab your reader’s attention or make them pass on your copy. So it needs to be engaging, clear, and speak straight to their pain point.
Don’t say something like: “Out now! Epic fantasy read—only $0.99 cents.”
Instead, try: “In this brand new, epic fantasy read, Lyra will face it all.”
While the first headline might look good on the page, it doesn’t offer enough information to make people slow their scroll, even with the price listed. There are so many epic fantasy reads out there—and many readers have a towering TBR of books they still need to get around to.
If they are intrigued right off the bat by a hint of the story, it’s going to be a more effective headline.
Tip #3 Customers Are Selfish, So Be Selfless
Readers don’t care about your new book—they care about if they want to read it. No matter what you’re selling, you can’t make it all about you and your book. You have to make it about them.
Here’s a bad example: “The Blood Keeper, out today! Grab your copy!”
Here’s a better example: “H.S. Hudson’s compelling writing will have you on the edge of your seat in her new, enthralling thriller novel, The Blood Keeper.”
They need to clearly see why they need your book and should give it any time of day. So in your marketing copy, try to include:
- The benefits—what will your book do for your reader? Will it make them feel emotions? Will it take them on an adventure? Will it satisfy their cravings for sweet romance?
- What are some objections they might have—why buy now? Will the book really interest them? Is there a snippet they can read first?
- What social proof can you offer—do you have any reviews yet? What have major publications said about your story? Has it ranked on a bestseller’s list? What are people saying that can help influence your reader?
Tip #4 Add More Value To The Sale
If your book is fresh on the market and you don’t have any sales or social proof yet to offer, try upselling it in a way that brings authenticity to your author brand.
I believe there’s a time and place for free books and $0.99 cent offers, but if this is your entire sales strategy, you’re undervaluing yourself and making people question why the price is so low to begin with.
People want a quality reading experience—so give them just that!
When selling, create one-time bonuses and offers which will make your customer feel like a VIP. Maybe you’ll give them the first 3 chapters free before they buy. Maybe they’ll get a bonus book or novella with their purchase. Maybe you’ll send them a bookmark or a piece of fanart as a thank you for their support.
The more value you can offer, the better chance of a sale—and until you have a an established, credible presence in the book world showcasing the value of your work for you, you’ll have to get creative.
Finally, Tip #5 Make Them Take Action
Ask them to do something and make it very clear.
- Buy now.
- Find out more.
- Signup now.
But then, take it a step further than that—and give them incentive to do it NOW.
Maybe you can offer your book for $0.99 cents for a limited time.
Or, maybe you’re offering a bonus book or novella in the next 24 hours for each person who buys a copy—like a 2 for one offer.
And there we have it! Those are my tips on how to write more engaging book marketing copy. If you found these tips helpful, please make sure to leave a review for The Paperback Podcast—that way I know what content to keep bringing to the podcast.
And before I go today, I want to leave you with a very simple copywriting formula to help you when writing your own marketing copy. Grab a pen and paper—I’ll give you a second.
Okay, are you ready?
Here it is:
1) Here is the offer I have for you.
2) Here is what it’s going to do for you.
3) This is who I am, and what social proof I have.
4) This is what I want you to do.
Super easy, right? And if you follow my tips in this episode, you’ll be able to write your book sales copy step by step using this formula.
Well, that’s I have for you today, but make sure you join me two weeks from now, because I’ll be back with another episode of The Paperback Podcast.