March 9, 2011
Negative Is Positive
Sometimes the positively best way to promote a book is by being negative. Why?
Not every book is for everyone. When you try to sell a book to everyone, you often end up selling it to no one. Without a focused audience, the people the book was really meant for are likely to miss it completely.
As I've written here before, "One can typically sell more books by going deeply into a niche than one can by skimming the surface of a broad audience."
One of the best ways to obtain focus in promoting a book is to make clear who the book is not for. It may seem counterintuitive, but it works. Roy Williams calls it choosing whom to lose. He gives a great example of an ad that chose to lose bargain hunters and posers.
It grabs attention:
Then it gains credibility by being candid:
"It's not the sleekest, prettiest one in its price class. No one is going to tell you how cool your camera looks. The upside is that it takes far superior pictures."
Finally, it reinforces the focus, as Canon did here:
"No one ever replaces their PowerShot S500. Go to your local pawnshop and see if you can find one. We're betting you can't. But you will see several of that 'prettier' camera available cheaper than dirt. So if you're looking for a great price on a sleek-looking camera, that's probably where you should go."
The same could be done for a diet or money book, for example: "If you are looking for a quick fix to your money/weight problems, this book is not for you." It sounds risky to take this approach. But with a plethora of money/diet books out there, you have to make yours stand out. Narrowing your audience can be just the solution to improve your sales.
Williams seeks to narrow his own audience with his conclusion. For me it does the job. He says: "I promise that targeting through copy works. But do you have the guts to do it?"