Thursday, April 29, 2021

How Authors Tell Stories To Sell Books


Authors are a company – and each book penned is a product. So, how does one brand themselves and sell a story to peddle a book?

New York Times best-selling author Donald Miller wrote a terrific book, Building A Story Brand. Though it’s geared to businesses but is certainly applicable to the author-turned-infopreneur.

“How many sales are we missing out on because consumers can’t figure out what our offer is within five seconds of visiting our website?” Miller ponders.

“The reality is we aren’t just in a race to get our products to market; we’re also in a race to communicate why our customers need those products in their lives,” he says. “Even if we have the best products in the marketplace, we’ll lose to an inferior product if our competitor’s offer is communicated more clearly.”

Got that, authors? 

Words matter. 

They sell things like books. 

“Customers don’t generally care about your story; they care about their own,” writes Miller. “Your customer should be the hero of the story, not your brand. This is the secret every phenomenally successful business understands.” 

Authors need to narrow down their marketing focus and address these three areas: 

1.      Exactly what do you offer?

2.      How can your book make one’s life better or happier?

3.      What do people need to do to buy it? 

“Once we identify who our customer is, we have to ask ourselves what they want as it relates to our brand,” writes Miller. “Unless we identify something our customer wants, they will never feel invited into the story we are telling. Customers are attracted to us for the same reason heroes are pulled into stories: they want to solve a problem that has, in big or small ways, disrupted their peaceful life … By talking about the problems our customers face, you deepen their interest in everything we offer.” 

Books, most often, will either: 





So, when you sell your book, sell them on one or more of those areas. Help readers discover your book as providing a solution to their problems, whether the problem/need/desire is physical/external/internal/psychological or philosophical/spiritual. Most people have concerns over their health, wealth, family, fun, faith, or intimacy. Sell to these concerns, needs, and desires. 

As much as people are motivated to buy or do something when it leads to gaining more of something desired (money, beauty, power, happiness, sex), they are even more motivated by avoiding a pain or problem. They are moved by loss aversion. They buy on desire for something AND out of fear of something. 

Never assume people understand how your book can change their lives. Tell them. Show them. Remind them. Never ignore, confuse, or insult them. You are there to relax, guide, and comfort them. Give them hope and support. Exude optimism and be friendly. People buy from those they like and who likes them. 

Miller’s book identifies many mistakes companies make when selling something or branding themselves, but two really stuck out and should be relatable to authors. I leave you with his words: 

Mistake Number One:

“The first mistake brands make is they fail to focus on the aspects of their offer that will help people survive and thrive. 

“All great stories are about survival – either physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual. A story about anything else won’t work to captivate an audience. Nobody’s interested. This means that if we position our products and services as anything but an aid in helping people survive, thrive, be accepted, find love, achieve an aspirational identity, or bond with a tribe that will defend them physically and socially, good luck selling anything to anybody. These are the only things people care about.” 

Mistake Number Two

“The second mistake brands make is hey cause their customers to burn too many calories in an effort to understand their offer. 

“When having to process too much seemingly random information, people begin to ignore the source of that useless information in an effort to conserve calories. In other words, there’s a survival mechanism within our customers’ brain that is designed to tune us out should we ever start confusing them.” 


Contact Brian For Marketing Help!!

Brian Feinblum, the founder of this award-winning blog, can be reached at He is available to help authors promote their story, sell their book, and grow their brand.

Learn, Grow, Succeed!!


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: 

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