Saturday, December 6, 2008

What's an Author Like You Doing with a Book Title Like That?!

What's an Author Like You Doing with a Book Title Like That?!

5 Ways to Fix Your Book-Title Blind Spots

By Susan Kendrick

Book cover projects seem to come in waves here. This was the week for otherwise highly intelligent consultants who are putting their expertise into new books ... to have landed on some really poor book titles.

Again, the reason this is frustrating to see is that these individuals and their manuscripts are vigorous, sharp, focused, informative, and downright fascinating. This is in complete contrast to their proposed book titles, which were either dull, confusing, misleading, meaningless, jargon-filled, or all of the above. In other words, there was a complete disconnect between the books and the book titles. Not only are their books at risk, but also their businesses, reputations, and future prospects, not to mention the money spent on publishing a book with a go-nowhere book title.

Of course, showing up with poor book title is not a big deal, unless ...

... you are sold on that title, like these authors were. In fact, they were contacting us because they were ready to move onto their back cover copy and then book cover design. Great move. They understand that your back cover copy is the foundation of your book branding and marketing efforts. But, they had definite blind spots about their book titles.

Fortunately, these authors are now rethinking their book titles. I would tell you their original titles, except that they are now going through a makeover, and because these authors deserve to have their new book titles be the first thing the world knows about them -- not what almost happened.

So, what went wrong and how can you avoid blind spots when it comes to your book title?

The following five tips will help you evaluate your book title. These tips aren't about how to come up with a great title, but how to at least avoid settling on a bad one, which is a good place to start. Remember that ideally your book cover will pave the way to book sales, new business, attracting your ideal client, getting the media attention you want, and more. Here's what New York publicist, Rick Frishman says: "The way your book is packaged tells us a lot about you and your message. Bring us something we can sell. Give us a book cover that can help make that happen! "

You can be the expert on your topic and still not be ready to boil that down into the few words that will make people get and want what you have to offer. And, that's OK. Your job inside the book is to expand on your topic; the job on the cover is to condense that into a few words that sell.

Try the following tips for getting a reality check on your book title ideas:

- Walk through a bookstore and browse Amazon
Find the section for books in your category. Look around. You know what catches your eye, especially those book titles that have such great billboard effect. See what draws you in. Does your book title have that same power? If you saw your title on the shelf next to these other titles, would you be drawn to it? Now, analyze the book titles you like best. Is there a certain kind of action word, the word "your," or some twist on a phrase that make them so appealing? Raise the bar on your own book and start brainstorming better titles.

- Test your book title on Google AdWords
This is proven way for getting a completely unbiased, real-time response to your book title, from people who are interested in and looking for resources on your topic. You can even set up two book-title variations and test them against each other to see which one generates more clicks. You can easily turn your ad on and off to learn what you need to know while you monitor and control costs. Used correctly, this pay-per-click service is an invaluable tool for testing book titles, subtitles, taglines, headlines, and more.

- Check out the New York Times Bestseller List
The New York Times Bestseller list is primarily based on bookstore sales at hundreds of independent booksellers nationwide. In other words, people had to hear about and care enough about a book to go to a book store and put their money on the counter to buy it. Would your book title achieve this same effect? Of course, a lot of marketing goes into most of the books that make it big, but that usually starts with the process of deciding on the title--a process anyone can master. For example, a recent New York Times bestseller with a title that was tested on Google AdWords is Tim Ferriss's The 4-Hour Work Week. Enough said.

- Listen to NPR and watch TV talk shows
Morning TV talk shows include interviews with book authors. National Public Radio, NPR, also does many features on new books. Listen to these hosts and the authors discuss these books on the air, or listen to these broadcasts online. Can you imagine your book getting this kind of attention or sounding this good in an interview? Just like with New York Times bestsellers, books do not rise to the top by their book titles alone. But, a poor title can kill your chances of even getting in the door. Listen to what books are being talked about and ask yourself if your title would help your book make the cut.

- Trust your gut ... really
When it comes to your book title, do NOT ignore those feelings of self-doubt, worry, or uncertainty. If you think you can do better, you probably can.

If you think your book title may be at risk or want an evaluation to help you identify your potential book-title blind spots, email us at or call us at 1-888-634-4120.

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-715-634-4120.

Monday, November 24, 2008

5 Reasons to Write Your Back Cover Copy While You're Still Writing Your Book--part 5

#5. Turn your Book Cover into a Speaker One Sheet

By Susan Kendrick

Here it is, the fifth and final post in our 5-part series. Enjoy!

Books and speaking have always helped each other: Being an author improves your ability to get speaking engagements, and speaking increases your ability to sell and pre-sell your books. Here's how to take that relationship one step further and use your book cover copy and design to create your speaker one sheet.

Start with your Book Title and Subtitle
If you are currently a speaker or want to start speaking on the same topic as your book, you can use your book’s title and subtitle as the topic title and subtitle for your one sheet. Doing so helps you build a consistent brand for your message and your expertise—as both as an author and speaker.

If you will be speaking to a more tightly targeted group or situation, you can add that identifier to the title. You can even create a series of presentations targeted to different audience needs or circumstances. For example, a book titled “Top 10 Leadership Secrets” can become more tightly niched speaking topics:

- “Top 10 Leadership Secrets--for a Down Economy”
- “Top 10 Leadership Secrets--for IT Managers”
- “Top 10 Leadership Secrets--for Keeping Your Most Talented Employees”
- Etc.

Now, Borrow Your Book’s Back Cover Copy
For non-fiction books, the copy components you should have on your back cover are similar to those that belong on your speaker one sheet. One thing to keep in mind is that your back cover copy is usually written as a one-on-one conversation with your potential reader. Your one sheet copy, on the other hand, is directed to meeting planners and other decision-makers that will hire you based on what you can do for their audiences and how that will ultimately help those companies and organizations.

See how the following copy elements from your back cover translate onto your one sheet:

- A headline that immediately speaks to some hot-spot need, dilemma, question, statistic, or desire for improvement
- Stand-out-from-the-crowd positioning copy that shows why you and your message are the solution your potential clients are looking for
- Powerhouse bullet points that tell what the audience will take away from your presentation
- Killer endorsements. If you are just starting out and don’t yet have endorsements specifically about your speaking, you can usually get permission from your sources to tweak their book quotes so that they speak not just to your book, but to your overall expertise on your topic
- A high-profile bio that reinforces your credibility, expert status, and related services

To complete your one sheet, now add these elements to your copy:

- “Short List” of High–Profile Clients
Like testimonials, this list speaks to your credibility by showing who else has already made use of your expertise and services. Again, if you are just getting started in speaking, this list can represent companies and organizations for whom you have provided consulting or training. Many new speakers will even offer to speak at well-known, big-name organizations or companies for free to be able to include them on their list of clients and to fine-tune their presentation delivery.

- Media Appearances (Not necessary if none are available yet)
Keeping your target audience in mind, list where you have been featured in major media outlets—radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, industry publications, and websites.

- Additional Topics List
This is a list of the topic titles of other presentations you deliver as either keynotes or seminars. It demonstrates the range of your expertise and your ability to deliver on a variety of related and sought-after topics. It is a great way to generate repeat bookings right from the start.

- “Educational Materials” List
This is the place to list your book and one or two other relevant products, workbooks, etc. Most companies and organizations have an “Educational Materials Budget” that may be used to order books, etc. for their audience participants.

Graphics—Look to Your Book
Again, borrow from your book cover to create the layout and design for your one sheet. This will give you a cohesive "visual brand" across all your marketing materials. Your speaker one sheet can be designed with the same color, fonts, and overall look of your book cover. You should also have a photo of you on each side of your one sheet. And, include the name and contact information of the speaker’s bureau that is promoting you, or your own name and contact information if you are promoting yourself to meeting planners.

The point is, you don’t have to wait for your book to arrive from the printer before you can start benefiting from the credibility and expert status that book gives you. You are already an expert; your book is just the culmination of that expertise. Get out there and enjoy the rewards of your hard-won knowledge and wisdom, even if you are still working on your book. And, let your book cover work as hard as you do to make that happen.

For more help on how to create your speaker one sheet or your complete speaker’s kit, email us at or call us at 1-888-634-4120.

Happy Publishing … and Speaking!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-715-634-4120.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: 5 Reasons to Write Your Back Cover Copy While You're Still Writing Your Book--part 4

#4. Enjoy Having Instant Book Website Copy Ready to Go

By Susan Kendrick

Here it is – Reason #4 in this Book Back Cover series.

With all you have to do to publish your book--finalizing your manuscript; moving on to interior design, production, and printing; setting up a book website, etc.--do yourself the favor of eliminating at least one task from that often overwhelming to-do list: Writing your website copy.

With your book’s back cover copy in hand, you already have the content for the book landing page of your website. We advise our clients to cut and paste their back cover copy right into that page and have seen incredible book-selling websites get up and going very quickly this way. And, because that back cover copy is designed to SELL your book on the back cover, it is ready to do that same thing on your website, and in 350 words or less for a great billboard effect there as well.

Good for your book -- Good for your website!

Think about it. In developing your book’s back cover copy, you’ve already made your most important positioning and branding decisions. And, the copy itself is the best sales rep you have:
- A great headline
- Stand-out-from-the-crowd Intro copy
- Powerhouse bullets
- Killer endorsements (or endorsements in the works, see previous post)
- An “About the Author” bio that reinforces your credibility, expert status, and related services
- A Call-to-Action that instantly builds your list of qualified prospects
- And more …

To complete this book website content, all you need is the book’s front cover graphic and a buy button to start promoting and even pre-selling your book while you are finalizing the book itself. With your author credibility established, this web page can also introduce and link to your consulting services, speaking, seminars, etc.

Make Your Back Cover Copy a Book Marketing Priority!

Your book’s back cover copy is the foundation of your BRAND and ALL YOUR BOOK MARKETING EFFORTS. Yes, it’s that important. Make the copywriting for your back cover a once-and-done success that you can use to build powerful, at-a-glance visibility for you, your message, and your ability to help your target market. We work with and personally advise hundreds of authors and experts, so we know how well this back cover process works--on your book and on your website. Consider contacting us if you want help creating those same results for you and your book, or just need help thinking through your book’s back cover copy. It’s easiest to reach us at Or, call us at 1-888-634-4120 and we’ll return your call within 24 hours.

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 1-715-634-4120.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: 5 Reasons to Write Your Back Cover Copy While You're Still Writing Your Book--part 3

#3. Get Those High-End Endorsements You’ve Been Fantasizing About!

By Susan Kendrick

Having your back cover copy in hand--at least a solid, working version of it--is a great way to get endorsements for your book while you're still working on it. You can then add the endorsements you get to your back (or front) cover before you finalize it and the book goes to press. Starting this endorsement process while you’re still working on your manuscript is important because getting endorsements can take time—time to decide who to approach, time to build enough of a relationship to get in the door, time for the endorser to respond, time to accommodate his or her travel and work schedule, etc.

Why Timing Makes the Difference for a Successful Book Cover
Starting the endorsement process while you're still working on your manuscript lets you to complete this task in time to use those endorsements on your book cover. Many authors start the endorsement-getting process too late and miss the opportunity to include pending endorsements on their cover. This usually happens when there is another deadline in place, like needing to finalize and print your book for a big speaking engagement or marketing event. This time-crunch also happens when the author is trying to meet an arbitrary, self-imposed publication deadline he or she feels compelled to meet, even when extending that date to include some really great endorsements would be worth the wait. This timing is a balancing act between getting the elements you need in place for your cover and getting your book to press and to market. Starting the endorsement process early helps you achieve the best of both worlds.

Worth the Wait?
Yes, remember that endorsements--from experts in your field, bestselling authors, satisfied clients or customers, celebrities, or other “household names” recognizable to your target audience--are critical for establishing your credibility and are perhaps the most powerful selling feature on your book cover. Endorsements are one of the first things both readers and buyers look for on your book cover—who is saying what about you and your book. For “The 3 P’s” of getting and choosing endorsements for your cover, check out this Book Cover Coaching article.

But wait, how can you ask for endorsements when your manuscript isn’t even finished? Don’t you need your manuscript to show those people you want to endorse your book? Yes, but you can provide them with either a completed manuscript, or in many cases, just your Introduction and several key chapters to give them a feel for your message and your level of expertise. Send these chapters along with your front cover and your working back cover copy.

Your back cover copy does three things to help you get the endorsements you want:
-- It tells potential endorsers what the book is about and the importance of that message to people they care about as well
-- Like your front cover, it shows that this book is “real,” with a well-developed intent and marketing message
-- It allows each potential endorser to see the rest of the back cover on which his or her comments and name will appear

This last point is especially important for gaining the trust of potential endorsers in you, your message, and how you will professionally showcase them on your book cover. If you have already secured other endorsements, all the better, because new endorsers will be able to see who they will be appearing with on the back cover of your book and therefore on your website and other marketing outlets. Done right, your back cover copy goes a long way toward showing potential endorsers the benefit to them of appearing on your book. It’s a good way to start what should be a mutually beneficial relationship.

For more information on the benefits of starting your book cover as early as possible, and for step-by-step how-to's for using the book cover secrets of today's bestsellers, please visit

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 715-634-4120.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: 5 Reasons to Write Your Back Cover Copy While You're Still Writing Your Book--part 2

#2. Start Talking Intelligently About Your Book, NOW!

By Susan Kendrick

Don't you love it when people ask you about the book you're working on and getting ready to publish? Well, maybe you love it, and maybe you don't. It depends on if you feel like you have a good answer.

When people call us for help with their book titles, subtitles, back cover sales copy, and related branding, we listen to them take 20 to 30 minutes or more just to explain what their book is about, who it will help, and how. And, much of this comes out only when we ask very pointed questions about the book and their expertise. But that’s us. You’re not going to have that luxury of time when you’re trying to explain to a potential reader, consulting client, speakers bureau, radio show host, magazine editor, joint venture partner, distributor, or any other decision-maker you need to hook with your ideas.

An elevator speech is what’s needed, and that’s just what your book's back cover copy is. It gives you that headline hook to draw people in. It tells them what’s in it for them, why you and not someone else, and who else is backing you up with their endorsements. Pretty good for 15 seconds worth of sales copy. Imagine how good you and your book will sound when you can give a concise, powerful description that makes gets people excited about what you have to offer.

The sooner you can do this, the better.

Put your back-cover elevator speech together while you're still writing your book so that you can start talking intelligently about your book, and promoting it! For a step-by-step guide to creating this kind of buy-me-now elevator speech, pick up a copy of our Free Special Report, "From Back cover to Bestseller," then come back tomorrow for Reason #3 to start your back cover while you're still writing your book.

For more help on when to start your book cover and why, and how to confidently navigate the entire book cover process, from book title to book cover design, printing, and more, visit

For help with your front or back cover, the overall branding of your book or business, or with other questions, please contact us at 1-888-634-4120 or email

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 715-634-4120

Monday, November 17, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: 5 Reasons to Write Your Back Cover Copy While You're Still Writing Your Book

#1. It's Easier to Write and/or Finish Your Book

By Susan Kendrick

As promised, this week you get a series of five reasons to write your book’s back cover positioning and sales copy as early as possible, ideally while you are still writing your book. If you take a look again at the last post, on when you should start the entire book cover and why, you’ll notice how these reasons overlap.

Why Is the Back Cover Such a Big Deal?

It’s important to specifically emphasize the importance of starting your back cover early, because the back cover copy often becomes an afterthought in the book design process. But, when you approach the back cover more proactively, you give yourself a powerful foundation to your brand and to your book marketing success. You literally build that success right into the book itself and start making a name for yourself while you’re still working on your book.

Don't Be the Only One Working Hard on Your Book!

Put together your back cover copy as soon as possible, so that when your book is officially released, it has already been building your reputation as an expert on your topic, paving the way to higher consulting fees and higher-end speaking engagements, and generating pre-orders for your book. In other words, while you’re still working hard on your book, your book cover is already working just as hard for you!

So here you go—the first of five reasons to starting your back cover positioning and sales copy while you’re still writing your book.

1. It's Easier to Write and/or Finish Your Book
Quite simply, if you have a working version of your book back cover copy in front of your while you’re working on your manuscript, you are literally working with the end in mind. That is, your back cover copy is where you decide how you will tell readers and buyers exactly what is contained in the pages of your book and how that benefits them. And, during the back cover process, you will no doubt come up with some ideas about what should be in your book if you have not planned for it already. For example, you may decide to tighten your audience niche, that your book is just for start-up businesses vs. any business; parents of children under 12 vs. all parents; people retiring alone vs. people retiring as a couple; cancer-fighting foods and lifestyle habits for women vs. men and women. From there, you may even decide that you have the potential to write not just one book, but a series of books for various target audiences. Developing your back cover copy is full of exciting “Aha” moments about your message, your mission, your target audience, your business, and most importantly about you and what you ideally want to and can offer. All this from your back cover! Start your back cover while you're completing your book and create not just a better book cover, but a better book, or books!

To get started on your back cover, get the how-to guide you need. Yes, it’s free, it’s from us, and it’s the only complete guide on the subject. Get yours now at
Back Cover to Bestseller, then come back tomorrow for Reason #2.

For more help on when to start your book cover, why, and how to save time, money, and aggravation by doing it right the first time, visit

For help with your front or back cover, the overall branding of your book or business, or with other questions, please contact us at 1-888-634-4120 or email

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 715-634-4120

Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: When Should You Start Your Book Cover

When Should You Start Your Book Cover?
Or, Why Your Book is Like an iPhone

By Susan Kendrick

Which comes first, the book or the book cover? This seems like a simple chronological question. You write a book and then you cover it, right?

But to really answer this question, first think about your book cover as the packaging for this great, new product. Just like you saw and heard about the iPhone, for example, long before you could get one, you can use your book cover to create a demand for your book before it ever hits the streets. The good news is, your job is even easier--you don't have to appeal to the world, just your target market.

Your book cover is where you describe and show your book to your target market in such mouth-watering detail that they can't wait to get their hands on it. It is the beginning of all your branding and marketing efforts. Start your book cover as soon as possible, today, to give your book "the iPhone advantage."

Start your book cover while you're writing your book ...
or as soon as you get an idea for a book!

We end up working with a lot more authors and experts these days who are ready to start their book covers during the book writing process. They already know the advantages; they come to us to help make it happen. Credit for so many educated authors should be given, in part, to Dan Poynter, creator of the bestselling book The Self Publishing Manual for being an advocate of this get-started-early approach to book covers.

An Important Note:
Please be aware that you can create your book cover while you are writing your manuscript, but you don't have to finalize your cover until your manuscript is complete and it is time to go to print. This lets you use your cover to market and accept pre-orders for your book and to get support and endorsements. But, it also gives you the flexibility to make final adjustments to the cover--like adding a great endorsement--before your book goes to print.

What To Do in What Order

1.) Book Title
and Subtitle
As soon as you confirm your title and subtitle, you can mention and promote your "forthcoming" book on your website, blog, in speaking engagements, articles, interviews, newsletters, ads, and more. This is also the time to establish your book series name and brand if you will be writing more than one book.

2.) Book Cover Design
Enlist the help of a good book cover designer to create your cover design as soon as you have confirmed your title and subtitle. With your front cover design in place, you can not only mention the title and subtitle, you can show people your new book. Post your fully designed front cover on your website, your blog, speaker One Sheet, even on amazon and other online booksellers. On amazon, look around at the books that say, "Pre-order this item today." Those are books that typically exist only as a front covers and are not yet completed and/or printed. On your own website, offer incentive for pre-ordering your "forthcoming" book.

What's so important about having the completed front cover--writing and design? It makes your book real and therefore credible, especially in the eyes of those you would like to align with as potential partners and affiliates, as well as those you want to approach for endorsements.

3.) Book Back Cover Copy
Your back cover is that all-important "elevator speech" for your book--the pitch to your readers and marketing partners. Note: Have your book cover designer start working on the front cover design as soon as you finalize your title and subtitle. It's a great feeling to be working on your back cover copy, knowing that your cover designer is busy developing book cover design concepts for you.

The sooner you create your book's back cover positioning and sales copy, the sooner you can start marketing and pre-selling your book. Having that back cover copy in front you also makes it easier to write your book. It gives focus to your manuscript writing process. You told readers what the book will do for them on the back cover. Now you can build your book to deliver on that promise.

It's Just Good Marketing

Starting your brand development and packaging while you're still writing your book, or even as soon as you get an idea for a book--or any product--is simply good marketing. What better way to release your new book than to have people waiting for it!

To get your book cover off to the right start--Title, Subtitle, Series Name, Cover Design--purchase a copy of Cover That Book: Insider Secrets to Writing and Designing a Bestselling Book Cover, with an Introduction by Dan Poynter. Go to Book Cover Quick Start to order this double-CD set and free 20-minute coaching session with either me or Graham.

NEXT: In my next post, you'll get five reasons to create your book's back cover copy while you're writing your book. For now, get a copy of our free report, "From Back Cover to Best Seller" to see what to put on your back cover and why.

Happy Publishing!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc.All Rights Reserved. 715-634-4120

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: Does Your Book Cover Have a Hidden Target Market?

One Book--Multiple Target Markets?
Discover the Hidden Buyers for Your Book
(That Can More Than Double Your Sales!)

By Susan Kendrick

By now you must have heard or read at least once that you should narrow your niche, know your target audience and market exclusively to them on your book cover. I'm going to tell you to forget all that for a few minutes, because I want to help you see the hidden sales opportunities you could be missing.

For the next few minutes, I want you to think about your book in terms of readers and buyers, two often separate target markets you need to make an impact on with your book cover.

But aren't readers and buyers the same person?

Not always. Keep reading.

NOTE: The two book covers posted with this article are from independent publisher Victor Loos, Founder and President of
Bayou Publishing , in Houston, Texas. I worked with Victor to develop the titles, subtitles, and back cover positioning and sales copy for both of these books.

Interestingly, all or most of Bayou Publishing's books fall into this category of having to appeal to the reader and those that work with the reader. The Guys-Only Guide to: Getting Over Divorce and on with Live, Sex, and Relationships will be released soon.
Start Talking: A Girls Guide for You and Your Mom about Health, Sex, or Whatever was just released. Great job as always, Victor!

Back to your cover:

First we'll look at readers. Readers are your traditional target market, the people you think about when writing and designing your book cover. You ask yourself
all the right questions to come up with a compelling title, subtitle, and back cover sales copy that will create an irresistible pull on them, make them know that your book was written with them in mind, that it's the solution they are looking for.

OK, done. No problem.

Now, let's look at your hidden target market--your buyers. Buyers? Yes, because buyers and readers aren't always the same person. Consider, for example, a book written for teens about health and sex, like Start Talking. Given that teens have some interest in this topic, they still are not typically the ones who are going to see the need for this kind of book, search it out, and pay money for it. Their funds are destined for iTunes, movies, and shopping. It's their parents, and most likely their mothers, who will see that they need a reliable resource on health and sexuality.

So, the parent buys the book for the teen, who will then hopefully read the book. Now stop and think about the dilemma this causes for the cover. A book cover that appeals to a parent may not necessarily appeal to a teen, and a cover that really speaks to a teen may not feel like a trusted resource to the parent. The biggest challenge in writing your book cover to both the reader and the buyer is that you have to do so without alienating or patronizing the reader.

Give your readers and buyers good reasons to trust you

It's the same with the Guys-Only Guide book posted here. This book reaches out to guys who are or have gone through divorce and are pulling the personal parts of their lives back together. The book cover has to appeal to them so that they see its relevance to them and will read it. It also has to appeal to the co-authors' peers and associates, other counselors and therapists the authors want to partner with to buy and recommend the book to their male clients going through divorce. In both of the book examples in this article--the credibility factor for the buyer is huge.

For the book reader, there has to be a clear message of solidarity--that this book is for them and not just something someone else wants them to read. In the cases of the two books here, both straight-talking, tell-it-all Q&A formats, the reader gets everything the cover promises them.

The Thirsty-Horse Syndrome

You know the saying, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink? It's the same with a book. It can be pure, thirst-quenching information and advice, but unless readers see that for themselves on the cover, they won't read it. You want your cover to create an irresistible thirst for what's inside while you're getting the buyer on board, too.

Book Cover Quick-Start

Get expert advice from four leading experts on how to confidently navigate the book cover process--writing and design. Save 15% instantly, plus get a free 20-minute coaching session.
Click here for details.

Common Reader / Buyer Combos

Here are a few, common examples where the reader and the buyer are not always the same person. We've worked with books that represent these combos and more. Feel free to post your comments about the reader / buyer combos you've encountered.

Teen ... Parent
Husband ... Wife
Employee ... Business Owner
Health-Conscious Consumer ... Health and Wellness Practitioner
People in Change or Crisis ... Therapists and Counselors


Always explore your buyer opportunities before you start your cover. In discovering hidden buyers for your book early on, and appealing to them in even small ways on your cover, you open the door to approaching them as referring partners who can help you publicize and sell your book.

Ask yourself these two questions

"Who else works with this reading audience?" and "Who else would like to reach this reading audience?" The answers to those questions will help you create a cover you can use to make it easy for those people to partner with you in ways that are highly beneficial and lucrative to you both.

NEXT: How to effectively use your cover to speak to multiple audiences!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 715-634-4120

Monday, February 18, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: The "Squeaky Green" Book Title

The "Squeaky Green" Book Title

How a Twist on a Familiar Phrase
Created the Perfect Book Title for Method

(And how you can clean up on your book title, too!)

By Susan Kendrick

Great book titles deserve to be talked about. And, they are! A few short words in just the right combination quickly create their own kind of buzz that gets people excited and talking about "that new book." That "Ahh" and "Wow!" factor is exactly what we're after when we develop book titles and subtitles for authors and publishers. It's also what we look for and celebrate in the books we post in these articles. That's because every fresh, innovative book title you hear about puts you that much closer to developing your own bestselling titles, for your own books, ebooks, and information products.

Why Squeaky Green Works

Squeaky Green is written by co-authors Adam Lowry and Eric Ryan, founders of Method, the San Francisco-based company that makes ecologically sound cleaning products. Method is featured in this month's Fast Company magazine as one of The World's 50 Most Innovative Companies. You can also learn more about Method at

Lowry and Ryan's Squeaky Green is a perfect example of a powerful book cover strategy: Use a twist on a familiar phrase. This strategy works so well because it combines something already familiar to people--a well known phrase, in this case "squeaky clean"--with a fresh twist that makes it unique, memorable, and best of all, something that people now associate with you and your message. Given Method's eco-friendly "green" product line, Squeaky Green is a no-brainer. It is one of those book titles that strikes you as completely right in every way.

Here's something else you can learn from this book and these authors. Take a look at the subtitle: "The Method Guide to Detoxing Your Home" comes in to clarify the content of the book and the benefit to the reader. And, unlike some books that might save the name of the company for mention on the back cover, Squeaky Green promotes the Method company right up front in this subtitle.

This does two things: 1.) It gives Method instant visibility as the company and product line behind this book. 2.) And, perhaps more importantly for market positioning, it shows that the company is as committed to consumer education and support as it is to quality products. This is just one more way this truly innovative company rises, yet again, heads and shoulders above the competition to creat a whole new playing field and then dominate it right from the start. See how you can learn from their example.

"Pre-Order This Item Today"

Or, why wait to start profiting from your book? Squeaky Green is also a good example of how to use your book cover to sell your book before the book itself is even released. You can see on Amazon that the official release date of this book is April 1, 2008. Yet the book is already available for sale, based on presence of the book cover alone. Look carefully around Amazon and you will see a lot of books in this situation.

his is why we strongly advocate developing your title, subtitle, and book cover design as soon as possible, so that your book cover can be out there marketing and selling your book, and enhancing your credibility as an author and business, while you take care of final manuscript and production details. For 13 ways your book cover can help market your book and your business, go to

How to put this Squeaky Green strategy to work for you

ny time you see or hear about a book title that really catches your attention, simply break it down and analyze why it works. Squeaky Green starts with a familiar phrase, "squeaky clean," then adds in the eco-friendly element by changing "clean" to "green." Try this with your message:

1. List as many phrases, sayings, and even cliches as you can related to your general topic. For you that may be health, nutrition, personal finance, relationships, parenting, law, property management, travel, etc. You can google famous quotations about your topic for ideas.

2. Create a list of words that describe your unique approach to the topic, including words that rhyme with the words in the first list.

3. Now start substituting words from list two into the phrases in list one.

Your brain is now likely to start making connections. For example, if you are an expert on nutrition during pregnancy, you might have the familiar phrase, "Eating for Two" in your first list. If your particular approach to the topic is nutrition during pregnancy when you are expecting twins ... you might create this new book title twist: "Eating for Three!"

It should be said right up front what anyone who has ever tried to come up with a great book title already knows: Creating book titles is both a science and an art, so serendipity and the those "ah-ha" moments are definitely part of the equation. Work hard and have fun to increase your chance of coming up with a winner. If you have questions about how to come up with the best title and subtitle for your book, please give us a call at 715-634-4120, or email us at

What are some of your favorite book titles?

Post your comments here to inspire your fellow authors, publishers, book marketers, and other readers of this blog!

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book Cover Coaching: Back Cover Copy for Online Sales

Living Proof! More Ways to Use
Back Cover Sales Copy
to Boost Online Sales

By Susan Kendrick

It's been awhile, I know. But, I'm back, and with another great example of how smart authors get the most selling power from their book back covers online. Take a look at this book purchase page for Leveraging Diversity by Kim Olver and Sylvester Baugh. My partner, Graham Van Dixhorn, worked with Kim and Sylvester to develop the subtitle and back cover copy for this book. On this purchase page, you see the front cover of the book . . . and this:

"Click here to read back cover of book."

This is a perfect example of how to quickly convert browsers into buyers. You are no doubt already familiar with the statistic that book buyers spend no more than 15 seconds looking at the back cover of your book. What you say back their has to make them "get it!" and want what's inside.

It's the same online
You have just seconds to make an impression before your potential buyer clicks away to another page--or someone else's website. The condensed, powerful positioning copy you painstakingly develop for your back cover already says it all and is designed to sell. Make sure you put that all-in-one elevator speech to work on your website--or anywhere you want your book to be seen AND sold.

With the added boost of your book's cover design to make your back cover "sales package" really shine, your back cover headline, positioning message, testimonials, high profile bio, call to action, and more, become an irresistible sales pitch for your reader. Use it everywhere you can.

For more ideas about how to use your book cover online, check out our article posted on November 12, 9 Ways to Create Instant Website Content with Your Book Cover.

"From Back Cover to Bestseller"
For our complete guide to writing buy-me-now back cover copy for your book, download our free special report--17 pages of proven information, advice, and how-to's. See the GREEN cover on this page or go to

© Copyright 2008, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc.All Rights Reserved.