Books are 99% Commodity — Sell the Other 1%

There are more books than you could read in a hundred years, even if that’s all you ever did. In a way, books are a commodity.

The firehose-stream of new books, both independent and traditionally published, makes individual books even harder to distinguish. Your only hope of being found is to focus relentlessly on the 1% which makes your book unique.

I’m not suggesting that you find a way to convince people that your book is unlike anything which has ever come before. If you’ve written a murder mystery, your book is 99% like every murder mystery since Poe invented the genre. If your book is a historical romance, ditto.

photo by meral akbulut

Potential readers will want to know the 99% about your book which gives them a frame of reference. Mention it, briefly, but assume they know what that 99% says about your book.

What prompted you to write this book in the first place? Why did you decide the world needed one more young adult fantasy novel, one more romantic mystery, one more travel memoir? Non-fiction writers tend to write the book they couldn’t find anywhere else. Fiction writers all believe they have something new to say in the genre they love to read, and rightly so.

Think about to why you wrote the book. What was it about your subject, your characters, your concept, that made you excited to write it? Remind yourself why you believed your book would be special, why you believed it deserved to be written.

A major portion of what makes your book unique is the fact that you are unique. Take the uniqueness factor you’ve remembered about your book and wrap it in thick layers of your personality.

That’s your marketing message: what makes your book special and unique in a voice no other author can duplicate.

4 thoughts on “Books are 99% Commodity — Sell the Other 1%

  1. I improved the sales page for my self publishing book by telling a story at your suggestion and now this. I did write my book because I didn’t find what I wanted in the long list of self publishing books that I read. I touched on that in the Preface of the book but really haven’t taken advantage of it in my marketing. Another great idea that I will be working on in the next couple of days. Thanks.


  2. You do know that saying “I took your advice” is the greatest gift you can give a writer, right?

    That’s a massive testimonial, Bill. Thank you.

    Your autographed books are on their way. Even got Rick to sign “Hits or Niches” for us.

  3. As a writer of how-to books I do know how great it feels when someone takes my advice. I mean every word and not only about those two things. I’m really glad to have found you and know that your information will have a continued positive impact on my business.

    I got the books yesterday and already read “You Don’t Want A Job.” It’s a great book for anyone believing that a job is security. In my case it was very confirming but still loaded with valuable information. I’m lucky to have a job that I enjoy but don’t need. I do plan to leave it soon but for now it serves me well. I’m sure there are others in the same position but I don’t know any of them. Thanks again for the autographed copies.


  4. I’ve discovered that the two groups who benefit most from books like “You Don’t Want a Job” are those who are already thinking that way and just need a push, and those who are already there and enjoy the validation.

    It rarely changes the mind of a non-believer.

    Preaching to the choir, it turns out, works just fine.

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