Friday, August 4, 2023

Sell Your Book With These Words


I just enjoyed consuming a lovely book, Magic Words: What To Say To Get Your Way, written by best-selling author Jonah Berger. The premise: What we say, down to specific word-choice or word-order, is what influences the actions of others. It certainly is applicable to how and what we say to others about our books.

According to studies cited by the author, saying you “recommend” something rather than “like”something makes people 31% more likely to take your suggestion. I can see that. When a waiter says he likes a certain dish, I think to myself Who gives a shit and who knows about his tastes? But, if he says I recommend a dish, I reason that he analyzed some factors and took it all into consideration to recommend something. Truth is, he may only recommend what hasn’t been selling or whatever they make more profit on. Still, I recommend you use recommend over like.

Indeed, this book shows you how to communicate with impact and influence. The author notes: “I’ve seen the power of magic words. Yes, what we say matters, but some words are more impactful than others. The right words, used at the right time, can change minds, engage audiences, and drive action.”

He points out how, at different times, the use of “don’t” is better than saying “can’t.” He says talking about ourselves in the third person can reduce anxiety. Even asking kids if they can be a helper vs asking them to help increases the resulting help by almost a third. Words matter.

Here is an interesting insight: “Across a variety of topics and domains, research finds that turning actions into identities can shape how others are perceived.” For instance, to say one “runs a lot” is less effective than one identifying herself as “a runner.” Or, instead of asking one to vote, encourage them to be a voter. People like to feel they are a part of something or a group — not just performing a task.

Another key point: Insert “you” into things, like blog post headlines or conversations. People feel that you are speaking directly to them, even though you know that is not always the case.

Think of the words “should” and “could”. If you say one “could” do something, you speak to giving one permission to achieve what is possible; to say one “should” do something, you put a burden or obligation on them.  Which effect do you want?

Another tip: Speak with confidence. Ditch the hedges, don’t hesitate, know when to express doubt, and state pasts as presents. “Listeners are more persuaded when communicators seem more certain, or confident about what they are communicating,” said the author. “Because when people speak with certainty, we’re more likely to think they’re right.”

Want to sound confident? Use words like irrefutable, obviously, guaranteed, undeniable, clearly, essential, unquestionable, every time, and absolutely.

For you to feel heard or understood, show that you hear what the other person says or feels. Consider asking people for advice or opinions. Ask follow-up questions. By taking an interest in others, they will do so with you.

Where possible, find things you and another agree on. Mirror their language. Then move to ideas or things that you want to sell them on. Connect with them and relate to them on all levels — emotionally, socially, and psychologically.

There is no doubt that the concepts, facts, or ideas shared can hold a lot of weight on their own merits, but how you convey something down to the specific words used is what could dictate your level of success in marketing your book.

Need Book 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. He has over 30 years of experience in successfully helping thousands of authors in all genres. Let him be your advocate, teacher, and motivator!


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About Brian Feinblum

Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  


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