What Are You Offering?

So, you’ve written something.  Maybe it’s a short story or a novel.  Maybe it’s an article or a book.  The point is that you’ve written something and now you want it published, but more than that, you want it read.

So, what is it that you’re offering?

You’re not going to be read until you can answer that question in a motivating way.  And, just to make things interesting, you rarely have enough of an opportunity to really say what it is you’re offering.

At its most basic, you are either offering entertainment or information, or both.  But so are hundreds of thousands of others, in many different forms, and a lot of those forms are “easier” to consume than the written word.

So, what is it that you’re offering?

It has to be something that grabs your potential readers’ attention away from the “noise” made by all those other opportunities.  It has to be something that motivates them to “work” at receiving it.  The trouble is that by defining your “somethings” you will lose potential readers.  If your story is fantasy, and a potential reader doesn’t like all that hocus-pocus junk, then you’re out.  So, you either want to target your niche or target the widest possible audience, and which ever choice you make dictates how you communicate your “somethings.”  The trouble is that by failing to define your “somethings” you will lose potential readers.  If your story is a vicarious thrill ride that will make you laugh and make you cry, but you’re not willing to tell us how you intend to accomplish this, then chances are we’re not going to believe you.

So, what is it that you’re offering?

Answering this question is the crux of marketing.  Sometimes all you have is a book cover.  Sometimes you have even less.  Whatever you have to work with, you’ve got to know what you’re offering and you’ve got to communicate that to readers in a way that motivates them to dive into your work.  You’re asking for their time, at the very least, and you’re asking them to “work” while they give it to you.  You’re probably asking for their money, too.  So, what are you offering in return?

About Stephanie Allen Crist

Stephanie created and produces ComeSootheYourAchingSoul.com in answer to a call from God to use her experiences and gifts to help others. Stephanie is also the author of www.StephanieAllenCrist.com and two books that can be found on that site. Stephanie strives to share her love, faith, and talents in an inclusive manner to help others who know spiritual pain and who know the bitter taste of the dregs of despair.
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6 Responses to What Are You Offering?

  1. acflory says:

    Very good point Stephanie. Now that I’m at the final, final edit it’s something I really have to think about and find an answer to. These are the times when it would be so nice just to hand the whole headache over to someone else to deal with. Not gonna happen though so .. I’m thinking!

    • The problem there is that “someone else” isn’t going to be as intimately aware of the story as you, so that’s risking that they’d get it wrong. Have you ever read a back of the book after having read a story and thought, “Well, that’s just not right!” Or seen a synopsis of a television show/movie where it’s obvious that the person who wrote the synopsis didn’t really follow along with the show? All things that can easily be avoided, which negatively impact the reader/viewer’s perception of quality.

      • acflory says:

        To be honest I rarely read the stuff on the back of the book; it’s like commercial breaks, I just tune out. I have read one or two very good ones that lead to an impulse buy. Sadly the appetizer turned out to be a lot better than the main course.

      • I know what you mean, though I do like to know what I’m getting myself into. Hm. Could the difference between a planner and a pantser flow into reading habits, too? 😉

      • acflory says:

        Possibly. I do tend to dive into an interesting book and read a few pages before deciding to buy or not, so my choices aren’t completely impulsive!

  2. Ah, but I read the marketing and try to get to know the author–I rarely sample the book itself before I make a decision.

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