Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Can You Market Books With Just 8 Words?

8 Words Apart in a photo on the App Store

Let’s say you have just published a great book. Let’s also say you have an interesting background story. Let’s even assume you have an interesting, empowering, timely message to share. So what? How will you convey this to others in a way that they will take notice?

This is the dilemma of today’s author. How do you alert others that you are the real deal, that you have something useful to say, that you are qualified to say it, and that your book is something people should read and care about?

You get eight words to make an impression.

That’s right. You read that correctly. Eight words, that is it.

Now why would all of your life’s work, dreams, and precious book be reduced to just eight little words? Because that is the length of your email subject line.  It is the length of a headline. It is the length of the first sentence of a tweet or Facebook post. People don’t read beyond that if those first eight words don’t lure them in and make an impression.

So how the heck do you take an 80,000-word book and reduce it to a mere eight words?


Look at it as a game, like doing a word jumble, crossword puzzle, or a sudoku. You have this valuable piece of real estate that you must use wisely. There is a Feng Shui to words – how they look and sound, their size, their meaning, their connotation, and their arrangement. Find the way to one’s mind, heart, or soul with the right string of eight words.

Your eight-word statement needs impact and power. Is it action-oriented? Does it raise one’s curiosity? Does it make the reader feel a certain way, perhaps conjure up certain visions? Does it spark anger, fear, humor, or desire?

What should those eight words emphasize? What is it that you can say in just a few words that will open the doors for the reader to want to know more, to want to continue reading the rest of the email, story, tweet, FB post, or press release?

They say the first line of a book, especially a novel, needs to be so strong that it grips the reader and invites him or her in. Well, you need that kind of fireworks power with your subject line. If you want someone to click on what you offer, you have two things to work with: your subject line and a strong visual.

Things need to be short and sweet. The sizzle sells the steak – not the taste. They won’t taste what doesn’t smell or look enticing. Write some mouth-watering text that forces readers to be consumed by what you are offering.

So what does a bad subject line look like? They usually:
·         Are generic and sound bland
·         Fail to lead the reader to feel involved
·         Don’t sound urgent or exciting
·         Lack purpose, passion, or color
       Sound functional but lack style

Great subject lines will:
·         Use action-oriented words
·         Make a powerful statement and declaration
·         Ask an interesting question that people are curious about
·         Use purposeful punctuation like a question mark or exclamation mark
·         Uses the future or present tense
·         Place the words in the right order of appearance so the emphasis is on the right thing

It sounds crazy that your life or writing career comes down to just eight words. One sentence. But it does. 

So make sure your subject line has punch, mystique, or news – or your email gets ignored and your book dies a quiet death.That is just eight words -- choose them wisely!


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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