This week, cool cat Bryan Cohen, aka Dr. Descriptio, the Don Draper of Book Descriptions, author of the Ted Saves the World series, and co-host of the The Sell More Books Show podcast, returns to RSP to talk about his new course, Selling for Authors, what emails authors should be sending to their subscriber list, and how to write a bestselling book description.
Selling for Authors (Sign up for a free cheat sheet for writing better book descriptions and a three-part mini course)
Bryan has been busy. In the past two years since he was first on the show, he has written and released four books and a novella in hisTed Saves the World series, with the fifth book due out this month; he’s co-host of the popular weekly podcast The Sell More Books Show, going on its 100th episode; he’s started a successful book description writing service called Best Page Forward; and now he’s launched a new course on copywriting called Selling for Authors.
Selling for Authors
“Copywriting is anything you write outside of your books that could contribute to selling your books.”
When Brian began to offer copywriting services for authors through his book description service Best Page Forward, his in-box was packed with authors keen to hire him for his expert copywriting skills to build them a better book description. Bryan quickly recognized that many people were having problems with more than just their book descriptions — opportunities were being missed in emails, ad copy, and landing pages — so he created the course Selling for Authors to teach authors effective copywriting in five key areas: emails to potential reviewers, emails to readers, Facebook ad copy, landing pages, and book descriptions.
“It’s not just about sending traffic; it’s about making sure the place you send traffic is optimized.”
If your ad was compelling enough to send a reader to check out your book, then you want to make sure that the book description is dynamite. And if is and the reader buys it, then you want to make sure you’ve got a compelling offer and call-to-action at the front and back of your book inviting them to sign up for your email list. And if your offer is compelling enough that a reader clicks through to your email list, you want to make sure that that link takes them to a landing page that presents your offer in an attractive enough way that the reader signs up. Once you get the reader signed up, you then want to build a great relationship with them through well-written and interesting emails, so that when you do have a book that needs reviewers or a new book on sale, you’ve got an audience ready and willing not only to buy, but to help spread the good word.
If any element in an author’s marketing funnel is missing or lacking — the author profile isn’t set up, or there’s no call-to-action in the books, or email lists are neglected — then potential fans and sales will slip through the cracks. So it’s important for authors to not only learn good copywriting, but learn where it’s most needed and how to make it effective.
How to Write a Great Book Description
There are many ways you can get a great book description. You can buy one from Bryan through Best Page Forward ($97 will get you a book description, a Facebook ad, and a landing page), or you can learn to do it yourself. Bryan covers writing book descriptions in his new course Selling for Authors. He notes that one of the biggest mistake authors make in writing their book descriptions is focusing only on the synopsis, but there are three other key parts necessary to write a book description that sells.
In Bryan’s free download The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Better Book Descriptions, he shares the four parts to a bestselling book description:
- A short, punchy, above-the-fold tagline
- A present tense synopsis that uses as few words as possible to demonstrate the plot’s best selling point
- A selling paragraph that uses emotional adjectives and genre cues to get readers in the right mood
- A call-to-action at the end that asks readers to buy
A great place for authors to get feedback and encouragement from other authors in order to hone their book descriptions is in theFacebook group Selling for Authors, Bryan says, which anyone can join.
How to Manage Your Email List
“Build your email list!” is pounded into every fledgling indie writer’s head, but what to do with them once you’ve got ’em?
Two of the most commonly asked questions Bryan gets from authors about email lists are:
What do I send these people, and how often should I be emailing them?
What you email your readers is dependent on your goals, Bryan says. Every email list should have three main goals: 1) Getting people to sign up (you want to forge a connection, let them get to know you better, maybe connect with you on other shareable platforms); 2) Sell books (more likely if authors accomplish Goal 1); and 3) Get people onto your advance reader street team (the bigger this list = the more reviews you can launch a book with = better discovery = more sales).
The ins and outs of emails are covered extensively in Bryan’s course, but he recommends that during the first month after a new subscriber has signed on, almost all email should be through an autoresponder sequence of five or six emails. After that, about twice a month.
Bryan also notes that it’s not so important what time of day you send out emails; authors will find more success with their email campaigns if they plan and schedule them ahead of time.
“I think it’s the hard work that puts people off, but fortunately I’m insane.”
- Join/form a mastermind group. Belonging to a group of like-minded people focused on success and willing to kick your beheinie and hold you accountable to your goals is a great opportunity to level up. Bryan is part of a mastermind group with Simon, and it was a suggestion by Simon that led to Bryan starting Best Page Forward and receiving 100 orders his first month!
- Take a copywriting inventory. Make a list of all the places where you’ve got copywriting related to your author business — sales pages, landing pages, social media, emails, calls-to-action, ad copy, etc. — and evaluate each item for effectiveness and ways to improve it. Then do it.
- Tackle your Welcome to My Email List autoresponder sequence. This is just a small part of your marketing machine, but one that must be done regardless, so don’t put it off. Instead, sketch out the first five or six emails readers will receive when they sign up for your list, and write one email each day. In a week, you’ll have the whole thing written and working for you…welcoming new subscribers to “the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
What area of copywriting do you struggle with most as an author? What area of copywriting do you love the most? Share your questions and tips in the comments below!
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