‘Why should I read it?’
Either consciously or subconsciously, this critical question is one that every prospective reader will ask themselves about your book at some point. And if you can’t answer it about the book you want to write, then making your prospective readers spend their own precious time working it out for themselves is a really big ask.
This is where positioning comes in. Positioning answers this make-or-break question. And it’s the vital part of planning, writing, publishing and promoting a book that so many authors often bypass.
But you shouldn’t, and it’s really worth taking seriously.
Let’s go back a few years to when all books were published by traditional publishing houses. They were selling their books to brick-and-mortar bookstores, whose customers browsed the shelves, making their selections from a very limited and highly curated choice of titles.
The only positioning decision these publishers had to concern themselves with was whether the book would get on the shelf and sell. Which is understandable. It’s how they, and the bookstores, made their money after all.
But that’s not the case anymore.
The book market is so much more competitive now. Yes, there are still big publishers, but now there are also independent publishers, hybrid publishers and self-publishers. Choice is almost limitless. There are hundreds of ways to buy and consume books. And there’s loads of other content (written, digital, audio) fighting for our time and attention too.
But crucially for authors like you, most non-fiction books aren’t monetised directly through their sales these days. It’s through the doors they open and in the incredible opportunities that are on the other side where the money is found. The authors that we work with at The Right Book Company recognise that their book has a far greater value to them than the money it will make through selling copies.
So, unlike those publishers of old, these days we have much more to consider than just whether the book will sell. Now we must consider how it’s going to help us reach our goals and how it’s going to fit into our readers’ lives and minds as well as their professional and personal goals.
Positioning is therefore more important than ever because unfortunately…
Nobody cares about you or your book.
I’m sorry, and it’s hard to hear, I know. But it’s fundamentally true.
Think about it – when was the last time you bought or recommended a book just because the author wanted you to? In a sea of other content, and demands on their time, your potential readers only care about what your book will do for them. If you write, publish and promote a book believing anything else, chances are it will end up as an inferior product that serves neither you nor any audience.
So to succeed, your book has to appeal to your audience and provide them with real, meaningful, identifiable value. Only then will it also help you reach your objectives and open those doors to lucrative opportunities. That’s why positioning is so important and why you must think carefully about…
How to position your book.
Luckily, it’s not rocket science. But it’s also not a straight-line process either. It’ll take a little time, some deep thought and a lot of decisions. In fact, positioning is all about making long-term decisions that will take you down a particular path that, at some point, you will have to fully commit to.
But to make things a bit easier, there are three clear steps involved in positioning your book, and each has a handy, key question to answer.
Ask yourself: What do I want my book to do for me and my readers?
Think carefully and clearly about your objectives; it’s a vital first step. The decisions you make here will inform everything that follows in your writing and publishing journey (and I mean everything). But getting this bit right will also make everything that follows much easier for you. Remember that you’re not just thinking about your own objectives here but also the needs of your readers.
For your book to fulfil its objectives, by necessity, it’s going to need an…
Ask yourself: Who do I need to reach in order to meet my objectives?
Identify the people you need to influence, and write a short description of them – Who are they? Where are they? What do they do? What challenges are they facing? You might find you identify more than one target audience, and that’s fine. But you will have to choose just one audience to base your positioning on because your book can’t be all things to all people. Remember, positioning is all about making decisions.
To make sure your target audience will want to read your book, you’ll need to provide…
Ask yourself: Why will my readers care about my book?
This is where you decide what will make your book different and unique enough that your readers will care. What problem will it solve? What change or transformation will it make for them? How will it make their lives easier or better? And how? You can also consider your approach, structure and any added value you might add to the book (like additional downloadable content, for example).
Spending time on your positioning and getting it all clear will help you write the best book possible. A book that meets your objectives as well as the needs of your readers; a book that will be more straightforward to market and promote; a book that will help you find loyal fans, advocates and clients. And a book that will make it easy for its potential audience to answer…
‘Why should I read it?’
If you'd like to know more about how The Right Book Company can help you position, write, publish and promote a non-fiction book for your business, visit our website at www.therightbookcompany.com. If you've got a book idea of your own and would like to discuss it with us, why not request a free consultation call with one of our team?
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