It's with great pleasure that I present today's guest poster, Ali Luke. Ali was the FIRST ever video interview I featured here on Finding Bliss.
Your ebook’s finished (or getting close to finished), and you’re starting to think about the launch. But whenever you sit down to hammer out that sales page – or even a short blurb for Amazon – you find yourself procrastinating. Even the thought of doing the dishes seems much more attractive.
If that sounds like you, you’re definitely not alone. One of the most daunting tasks that indie authors face is writing the sales copy to promote their ebook.
Some typical fears that come up, time and time again, are:
- “I don’t want to sound like a used car salesman.”
- “I’ve never written anything like this before.”
- “I can’t explain this book in just a couple of paragraphs.”
Trust me, good marketing copy doesn’t have to be full of hyperbole and dubious claims. And even if you’ve never written sales copy before, you’ve written a whole book – you’ve almost certainly got a good way with words.
It can certainly be tough to capture the essence of your book into a very short space – but remember that you’re not trying to give the reader a complete chapter-by-chapter summary: you just need to help them make an informed decision on whether or not this book is right for them.
Looking at What Other Authors DoOne of the best ways to write sales copy that works is to think about what works for you as a reader. Look at the sales pages (or product descriptions on Amazon) for books in your genre. Think about:
- What makes a book sound enticing?
- What puts you off, or raises a red flag?
- What intrigues you enough to download a free sample, or even buy?
- Which words or phrases come up for several different books?
You might want to print out several different pieces of copy, so that you can go through them slowly and carefully, annotating them to mark particularly good (or bad!) sentences.
Crafting Your Sales CopyWith non-fiction, it’s a good idea to focus on the benefits that readers will gain from your book, not just on the features of that book. A feature is “this book is 150 pages” – a benefit is “this book is a short, value-packed read that won’t waste your time.” See the difference? Ebook authors will often list benefits in bullet-point form, because this makes them easy for readers to take in.
With fiction, look for ways to entice your ideal reader. You might, for instance, say that your fast-paced thriller is perfect for “fans of Dan Brown.” Think about ways to describe your novel, in positive terms. Depending on what genre you’re writing in, the prose might be lyrical and evocative – or the plot might be full of twists and turns.
Including ReviewsWith both fiction and non-fiction, include excerpts from reviews on your sales page or your website. (In online stores like Amazon, there’ll be a section where customers can write reviews.) The lovely things that other people have said about your book will often be far more persuasive than anything you can say – plus you won’t feel embarrassed about blowing your own trumpet.
If you don’t have any reviews yet, offer review copies for free – perhaps to your blog or newsletter readers, or to some writer friends. It’s important to get some good reviews in place before launching a big marketing campaign – otherwise you’ll miss out on sales.
Adding a Call to ActionA “call to action” is a clear request for the reader to do something. With a non-fiction ebook, especially on your own website, you might write:
Click the “Buy” button below to get your copy now.
With a fiction ebook, you might want to be a little more subtle in your call to action. You could make it more of a hook – a statement or question that makes the reader want to buy your book and find out more.
What price will John have to pay to succeed? And what will be the cost for the world if he fails?
Editing Your CopyPerhaps, during your research of other ebooks in your genre, you noticed a few typos or spelling mistakes in sales copy. If you’re anything like me, these are instantly off-putting – they give the impression that the author is lazy or just doesn’t care.
Make sure you triple-check your sales copy for any errors. Check it again after putting it into your webpage, or your Amazon page – sometimes, formatting can go awry. Ask a friend to look over it too: it’s easy to become blind to your own typos.
The most important thing to remember about online sales copy, though, is that it’s always going to be a work-in-progress. You can update, tweak and refine your copy as time goes by. If you get a new glowing review, for instance, you might well want to add that to your ebook’s sales page.
There’s only one guarantee when it comes to sales copy generating sales:
If you don’t have any sales copy at all, you’re not going to sell any books!
Getting your sales copy written – even if it’s just a first draft – will put you well on the way to the success that you deserve.
Ali is author of the newly-released Publishing eBooks For Dummies, a supportive, encouraging guide to the publishing process -- which covers every step from writing your ebook to marketing it
She blogs at Aliventures, one of my favorite blogs on writing and publishing, and also released her first novel, Lycopolis earlier this year.
Check out her blogging guides, too!