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Thursday, June 16, 2011

What Words Do You Use To Describe Your Book?

Ironically, for people who can string tens of thousands of words together to form a book, when it comes to describing what their book is about by using just a few words, they are stumped.  But coming up with a 15-second summary of you and your book is crucial to getting it sold, promoted, read, and recommended.  If you have difficulty describing what you have to offer, how will others know what to make of the book?

First, think of the summary as a selling tool.  It’s not a defensive exercise where you merely state what’s in the book, but rather it’s your chance to shine and seize the opportunity to say, in a convincing tone, so that to whomever you are talking to will find value in what you have to offer.

Second, think about what is in the book and then convert that into pro-active statements.  For instance, for a book about losing weight that contains exercises, food lists, recipes, etc., you can quantify this by saying: “My book will give you all of the tools needed to lose weight-including 89 easy-to-do exercises, a 712 item list of foods to eat, 416 foods to avoid, and 76 scrumptious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.”

Third, the book helps you lose weight.  Tell people how they do this with a sentence or two.  Compare it to things they’re familiar with and help them develop a picture.  For instance, “Most diets exclude too many things or they over emphasize one item, like Atkins, but this diet calls for three to four days of moderate exercise and the eating of any foods that you desire -- up to a certain caloric value, somewhat like weight Watchers, but without the meetings.”

Fourth, people like to know who wrote the book -- credentials are important.  So weave that into your description: “As a Ph.D, in nutrition…” or “As a nutritionist who has helped thousands of obese…” or “Having lost 142 pounds on this diet, I…”

Fifth, describe everything in terms of benefits.  You’re not just losing weight, you’re gaining a new body and the benefits that come with it. Tell people you they can fits into that attractive outfit they bought two years ago, go to the beach with confidence, get into shape for romance, drop those ten pounds before their 40th birthday party, etc.

Lastly, whatever you say in describing your book, be positive, smile, and give off a confident, inviting look.  People must feel they need, like, and trust you before they’ll buy from you.

*** Brian Feinblum can be reached at brianfeinblum@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @thePRexpert.


Say What?

A Marist Poll a few years ago revealed what Americans found to be the most annoying conversation statements.  Can you guess the top 5?  “Whatever” led a list that included:  “You know”; “It is what it is”; “Anyway”; and “At the end of the day.”

As people who make a living off of words, each of us in publishing and public relations should seek to be mindful of how we communicate with others.  But we seem to fall short in many ways.  Here are some things to keep in mind in our communications with others:

1.       Think about the words you use – are you saying what you mean to say?
2.        Are you overusing a word or a phrase?
3.       Do your words sound like Kmart when you really want to be Bloomingdale’s?
4.       When leaving a voice message, please slow down on the most important parts: stating your name and your phone number. How often do you get a message that you need to play six times in order to decode it?
5.       Don’t respond to a call with an email unless the voice mail message indicated you can e-mail them back.
6.       Don’t ignore an email.  Every email message needs a response within 24 hours. They don’t want to think you forgot them or didn’t get the email.
7.       Answer all questions that are asked in an email.  Don’t you hate it when someone only partially responds to your email?
8.       When someone asks you for more information about your book, don’t just email a website link.  Instead, summarize your book’s highlights and then direct them to the details on your site.
9.       If you’re sending a manuscript to someone, print out a copy and mail it.  It’s not fair to expect someone to live to print out a 300-page document because you emailed it to them.
10.   If someone doesn’t respond to an email in a timely manner, call them.  It’s possible the recipient didn’t notice the email or didn’t receive it.
11.   Always have a signature at the bottom of our email.  It looks empty or spamish without showing your name, address, phone, website email.
*** Brian Feinblum can be reached at brianfeinblum@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @thePRexpert.

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