Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reality Sells

Advertising is a form of communication for marketing used to drive consumer behavior. For years, advertisers used sexual images in ads to help sell a product, thus the term “sex sells” was born. With the onset of reality television shows that cover topics ranging from betting on your toddler for a college fund, to risking your life for thrills, to women arguing with each
other on camera, the shift has changed to “reality sells.”

Millions of people watch television shows daily. Studies are inconsistent as to why people are fascinated with reality shows; however viewers seem to enjoy the idea of peering into the lives of others. This obsession could provide authors an opportunity to take advantage of this trend.

Beginning writers as well as more seasoned authors have something in common; they have something to sell. Oftentimes, authors brilliantly develop a story through the written word, but fall short when the time comes to market their book. Smart authors capitalize on the creativity used to write their book to develop a message that will attract readers and persuade them to buy through an effective message. A strong marketing message should be consistent across media platforms—online, print, and broadcast. The message for a book should tell the story of why the book was written in a way that people can relate to, so authors can take advantage of the opportunity of “reality sells.”

In the book, How to Market Your Book Free, Anita Rochelle and I provide readers with an easy to follow method to describe their book to deliver a message that will sell. The book includes a section titled “The Point” that is described as follows: A strong thought-provoking message or key point is critical to marketing a book. In this section, your goal is to develop the main point of your book and turn it into a message to encourage people to immediately buy your book.”

Developing a compelling message is easier said than done. However, most authors already have the skills to develop a message; they just need a little coaching to get started. Here is a process to try:

Consider how many authors describe their book to potential buyers: “Hi, my name is ___________ and I wrote a book titled “___________ .” This kind of introduction generally receives a lackluster response, if any response at all. To continue the conversation, the potential buyer might inquire further, but for the most part the author still may not connect with the potential book buyer. However, if the author tells the story behind the story, why s/he wrote the book or the experiences that brought about the formation of the book, the potential buyer is more likely to be intrigued. People like reality, as demonstrated by the extreme popularity of reality television shows. They do not simply want to know the title of the book; they want to know what inspired the author to write it. Therefore, in a concise manner, the author’s message should tell the story (i.e., provide the reality).

In one paragraph, authors can develop a compelling message by including the following:
•    Describe the situation
•    Describe your goals when you decided to write your book
•    Describe the actions you took to address the situation
•    Describe the outcome

A proven message that is detailed in the book has secured several speaking opportunities and radio interviews for me. Now, it is time for you to work on your “reality sells” message.

Nicole Antoinette owns and manages Faith Books & MORE Publishing in Gwinnett County, GA. She believes writers have an obligation to preserve their thoughts, experiences, creativity, and most importantly, their faith in print, as well as through other forms of media. To learn more about publishing your book or republishing this article, contact Nicole Antoinette at or 678.232.6156.

Copyright © 2012 by Nicole Antoinette Smith.

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