For the Sleeping in My Jeans team, finalizing the book’s message and positioning are our primary goals for the term. We’re also doing a lot of other stuff, like sending out sales kits, preparing for a cover reveal, and you know, getting the book headed in the direction of the printer—but all of that relies on a successful, strong positioning statement and a marketing plan that’s founded on a solid message. And like with any book, it can be a tough process.
The goal of a successful positioning statement is to distill the very essence of your project into two or three sentences that perfectly encapsulate that thing that makes the book so special. There’s a lot riding on those sentences, as more often than not, they’re the ones that get shopped around to booksellers and sales reps, reviewers and blurbers, and eventually, the consumer. They often end up on the back of the book too, as back cover copy. But still, you’d think two or three sentences couldn’t be that hard, right?
Well, you’d be wrong.
Our team’s learned first hand that positioning is quite possibly one of the hardest aspects of publishing a book, for the following reasons:
- You have to take into account keywords, which are words your potential consumers might search for on the internet or Amazon when they’re book shopping.
- You also have to take into account current book trends. Where does your book fit into those trends, and what makes it stand out?
You also have to consider the actual book. It’s easy to let marketing copy run away from you, and sooner or later you might find yourself with some amazing copy with relevant keywords and excellent attention to market trends—that says absolutely nothing about what actually happens in your book.
Oh, and did I mention that you only have two or three sentences to do it?
Suffice it to say that positioning isn’t easy, and our team is certainly happy we started early. We’ve been working on a quality positioning statement since we started with the book last spring, and we’re only just finalizing it now. If you’re interested at all in how that process has worked for us, and how we’ve managed to work towards a solid message to base the rest of our consumer-facing marketing efforts, here’s what we know so far:
At this point, the best, and possibly only hack I’ve got is to start early and ask for a lot of help.
If you’re looking to write a positioning statement and create a message to form the foundation for your future social media campaign—and more importantly, if you want it to be compelling—start by writing it all down. Let yourself write a book description that’s as long as a page. Then, cut out the parts that aren’t that important or seem repetitive. Cut and finagle and paste, and cut some more until you can’t look at it for another second.
Then, send it to someone who knows the book and the market (for our team, that’s our fearless marketing lead, Morgan). Have them give you suggestions about what to cut or what to rewrite. Then do it all over again. If you’re managing a team, let two or three of your strongest writers take their own individual stabs at it. Take what’s really good, and scrap the rest.
At this point, you’ll probably have some sort of Frankenstein-looking content. No one’s sure who wrote what anymore, and everything you have, you know you need to keep, but it doesn’t flow yet. While this might seem like the most frustrating step, you’re actually very close to the end.
Take that piecemeal content, those three or four sentences that are all really strong independently, but don’t quite seem to make sense together, and break them into bullet points. What action is happening in each, and what feelings does each sentence convey?
From those bullet points, create a narrative. Now, you’re finally starting to get somewhere. You’ll probably have to send this narrative back and forth with your marketing guru a few more times, and you’ll want to make triple sure you have a quality copyeditor look at it after the Frankenstein experience. In the end, through a lot of teamwork and collaboration, you’ll likely have something you’re pretty proud of that showcases the heart of your book in a clear, concise, and compelling manner.
Message and positioning are tough, and there’s simply no way around them. The Sleeping in My Jeans team is still working on ours, and we’ll probably continue to finesse the content we have as the term progresses. By putting in the hard work now, we can rest assured that our resulting marketing plan and social media campaigns will be built on a strong foundation that works and that we believe in. With a quality positioning statement and clear message to deliver to the public, it’ll be easy to market Sleeping in My Jeans in a way that’s consistent and convincing.
Sleeping in My Jeans by Connie King Leonard is set to publish in November of 2018. Be sure to follow the Ooligan blog and