How To Find Your Book’s Marketing Message

book's marketing message

If you don’t know what the central, golden nugget is in your book, if you haven’t distilled it to that one central tenet, you’ll fail to find your book’s marketing message. Marketing your book becomes easier when you can zoom in on what makes you and your book special.

Congratulations! You’ve finished your business book. It’s inspiring, clear, informative – you have reason to be proud.

Next step, you’ve got to market and sell it.

Sorry, did your bubble just burst? Is your joy and satisfaction starting to wane?

Your book’s marketing message

You know what you need to do to in terms of social media outreach and exploiting your marketing channels (well, kind of), but what’s your central marketing message? You know, the one that will encourage people to buy and read your book.

Maybe that’s just it: a suspicion that you’ve overlooked something. You know you’ve got a mind-expanding message to deliver, but does your book reflect that? You need to identify the gold in your book.

Let me clue you in on something: readers don’t buy books. Your readers want solutions, something that encourages them to feel good. Even if your book advocates struggle and hard work to achieve results, your customers will be satisfied if they know there’s one golden reason for reading it. That’s what they’re buying. It may be to learn something important or make their business more profitable. It may just be a way to make life easier.

But if you don’t know what this central, golden nugget is, if you haven’t distilled your message to that one central tenet, you won’t know what to say about your book when you’re marketing it. And that might be why you’re not that excited to dive in. That’s why I wrote this post, to provide these five methods to find the gold in your book and arrive at your book’s marketing message.

1. The “Even If” rule

Let’s say you’ve written a book about how to start and maintain a profitable online business. It’s fair to assume your readers will be interested in knowing how to sell online. But that’s not all they want to know. They want to learn how to sell online even if:

  • They’ve never done it before.
  • They hate social media.
  • They haven’t established an online presence.

You see where this is going? The even if bit is your marketing message. It’s what makes your book meaningful for potential readers and what gives them that extra incentive to buy.

2. Why are you special?

What do your existing clients say really helps them about what you do? What makes you stand apart? That’s the point you need to reflect in your book and in how you talk about and market it. Here’s an example.

A book coaching client of mine helps people get over their phobias. His book is about how to recognize when you’ve got a phobia, what’s it’s doing to you, and how you can get rid of it. But his special technique is to approach this process with a very soft touch. Not all therapists work in this way; many throw their phobia patients into the deep end, which can be pretty scary and turn lots of potential patients away.

So the marketing message for his book became, “How to get rid of your phobia without scaring (or scarring) yourself.”

3. Blow your own horn

Take some time and read your latest client testimonials. Ask business associates what they hear about your service and methods. Gather feedback from your latest presentation. Are there any common themes?

Many of my ghostwriting clients comment on how skillfully I capture their voice and how well I keep to our timeline. These aren’t the only things a ghostwriter might be good at, but it’s the feedback that comes up repeatedly for me. When it comes time for me to write a book about what I do, those are the messages I will focus on within the book and in my marketing.

Marketing your book becomes easier when you can zoom in on what makes you and your book special.

4. Identify your passion

What makes you angry about the current state of your industry? What traps do your clients regularly fall into? What does everyone seem to get consistently wrong? Your passions are often your best guide to what your book’s marketing message should be.

When you are clear about what gets you motivated to help people or to get up on your soap box, you’ve struck marketing gold. Your book ceases to be just another “How To” guide or opinion piece when you address the core issues that stir emotions in yourself and your readers.

5. Speak to the lazy

You’ve put a lot of yourself – and a lot of your time – into writing this book. You’ve thought through all the things your readers need to do to get the most out of its contents. You want your readers to take action on what they’ve learned in your book. But what if they don’t? What about those lazy so-and-so’s who are all read and no action?

What will those readers get out of your book? Will they discover a new perspective on an important issue? Will they be empowered because they better understand something about themselves or their business? Answering these questions will give you clues into the real benefit your book provides, and this can form the basis of your book’s marketing message.

Let’s say you’ve written a book about how environmentally unsustainable our western lifestyles are. Is your golden nugget that our grandchildren will inherit our problems, or that we need to recycle more? Probably not. Those are important points, and are part of your message, but they’re not the core of it.

What about the idea that you only need to change one thing about the way you live to make a difference? That might be the resounding message of your book. This makes for a golden nugget: You can make the world greener by making one simple, sustainable change. It’s an intriguing message and doesn’t require a massive commitment from your reader.

Using these five techniques makes it easier to get your book’s marketing message right. But you still may need help. If you’re too close to your book to see the forest for the trees, perhaps you need a manuscript review. Whether you do this alone or with help, you’ll not only develop a killer message, but also discover value in your book you might not have known was there.


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  1. Good advice, but it is all geared towards non-fiction. It is possible to translate some of it to fiction, but there’s an assumption in the article that everyone reading it is writing what you presumably write: non-fiction.


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