Written for Where Writers Win
Stories are fundamental to how we communicate as human beings. Great stories are memorable and shareable.
Stories matter … and the one that matters most in your own great author marketing campaign is the story of YOU! When you are ready to market your book, think about it in terms of storytelling.
The technique works for press releases, story pitches and presentations. So, let’s start as every good story does, with the hero…
1. You need a hero
In this story, YOU are the hero.
And what defines a hero? The hero of the story is the one who is transformed as the story progresses, from an ordinary person into someone extraordinary. Hey, that’s YOU! Sure, it’s taken you 5 years to write your novel, but now your audience wants to know everything about YOU. They want to be able to relate to you. Connecting with them on an emotional level is essential.
Look at the ad above. It tells a story. It draws you in. The shoes are secondary. I want to know why they were never worn.
The same principle applies to marketing your book. The book is secondary. People want to know why you wrote it, how you wrote it and how it transformed you. With that in mind…
2. You need a goal
Good marketing solves problems and creates WANT. To put it another way, it’s also about the reader’s transformation. What makes them WANT to buy your book more than anything else is the story of YOU.
The goal is to make your own story compelling and innovative. Is your goal to educate, entertain or engage readers in a cause, discovery, etc?
The ad above has a clear goal: to sell a pair of baby shoes. It’s the emotional undertow that creates WANT.
Until you understand your goal, you don’t have a marketing story; you just have a collection of anecdotes.
3. You need an obstacle
Obstacles are what make stories interesting. The gap between where you are today and how you got there is the meat of your compelling story.
There are often external obstacles to your victory, but the most interesting ones are nearly always internal. What kept you from attaining your goal? What external elements were standing in your way?
More importantly, what emotional and psychological roadblocks did you overcome? What inner limitations were overcome to achieve your goal?
4. You are a mentor
As Jonah Sachs points out in his interesting book Winning the Story Wars, one difference between an empowering marketing message and the old-fashioned, insecurity-based toothpaste ads, is that you emphasize that your hero’s journey results from their own effort and work.
Your book exists to guide, coach, mentor, and help. It works with all genres.
5. You need a moral
When you’re telling a marketing story, it’s always wise to explicitly spell out the moral of your story.
So yes, use stories to show people that they, also, can overcome obstacles and attain their goals. Show how your audience can overcome external and internal obstacles to gain what they’re searching for.
Let your audience know what their main takeaway should be.
The most subtle and sophisticated stories leave it to the audience to figure out the moral of the story. But in marketing, the audience for those stories is consumed in a sea of distraction called technology.
Don’t be afraid to spell it out. Be clear and direct. Clarity is golden.
Every story needs a spark of something remarkable so it can be remembered and shared. And in the world we live in today, your own truth can be one of the most remarkable story elements of all.