What Are You Selling?

I’ve been working on some videos to promote my books. This current marketing adventure began when I read Rusch’s “Creating Your Author Brand.” I recommend it.

Authors, what are you selling?For me, it was filled with “ah-HA!” moments about continuity & quality… two points I’ve ignored with my “flash-in-the-pan” books. (They’re the ones I write in 10 days or less, and – short term – they can sell very well.)

But now, following Rusch’s tips, I’m working on an actual brand for my main pen names.

Her book was a superb start, but it’s more about the bedrock of branding than how-to of marketing, per se.

Initially, I followed popular advice: Sell my books with an “elevator speech.” Lead with the compelling things that make my books different… or, in genre romance, what makes them comfortable (even predictable) while telling a fresh, new story.

I fine-tuned my blurbs with great opening lines, bullet points to drive home why someone should buy my books (instead of competing books), and so on.

Then, I stumbled onto this TED Talk video.

After that, I found her free worksheet at Difference.is, and I bought her related book.

Within a few pages, I put the book down. I knew I needed to review the six videos I’m currently working on. Two of the four need to be revised, big time. When I recorded them, I was missing the point. 

Oh, I’d written good scripts for them, if I was only trying to persuade people to have an interest in my books.

But my message was dry. Boring. My videos were “just the facts, ma’am” more than “ooh, cool!”

(At the time, I thought I was writing my blurbs for busy people who just wanted the highlights, to give them an excuse to click that “buy now” button.)

Now I realize I was missing a key ingredient, and that ingredient is my readers’ interests, beliefs, and the things they consider valuable.

So, I’m back at my desk. I’m reworking the yawn-and-a-half video scripts. Re-recording will follow.

(I’m glad I have time to do this before a big radio interview next week. I want that audience to feel excited about me, my blog, and my upcoming books.)

Along the way, I’ve found other useful videos at TED Talks. Here they are, in case you want more to mull over.

First, Seth Godin’s advice is good… not great, but worth considering in this short presentation.

Then Malcolm Gladwell’s talk, which highlights something important: On a scale of 1-to-100 (from “meh” to “love it!”), you don’t have to score a perfect 100 with everything you do. (Being realistic: 60 is good, but 78 may be ideal, and kind of the “sweet spot” for those of us who tend to be a teensy bit to anxious about perfection.)

And finally, Simon Sinek’s talk. I’d heard him on TV, years ago, and he’d inspired me. Here’s that show (on BYU-TV), and it still inspires me. It’s a good place to start. https://www.byutv.org/player/41f10e4b-c66e-49b7-8a53-0d486bc1e286/fresh-take-start-with-why-with-simon-sinek

Today, I’m glad I had an excuse to revisit his advice as I’m reinventing my author branding. But, some of this video is very dated (and some of it is truly spooky), and less useful than other parts of it… for author/book branding, anyway.

I hope these tips are helpful. For me, this has been important, as I pause to reinvent my branding, my books, and how I look at my career, in general.


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