Good Copywriting to Sell Fiction

I woke early this morning to watch a webinar by Bryan Cohen titled 5 Ways to Sell More Books for the Rest of Your Career though Better Author Copywriting.

I fortified myself with a piece of pumpkin pie and Caramello ice cream, which I do not recommend for anyone at 4:00 am.

The webinar was interesting, but nothing new from what everyone else has discussed since Indie publishing took off about 7 years ago.

In this webinar Bryan Cohen is coming across as an “expert” in copywriting to sell Fiction and Non-Fiction books. He may be, or not. I have no idea either way.

As this was a free webinar, I will dot point what was covered.

  1. How to get more visibility for your novel and qualify for major promotion.
  2. How to make new readers excited to click the link to purchase.
  3. Where to find potential customers and how to convince them to visit my web site
  4. How to turn traffic into email subscribers you can email about future releases
  5. What to send to your email list to make them purchase your books.

And of course, the solution to each dot point was to use good copywriting.

1] How to get more visibility for your novel and qualify for major promotion.

Visibility is increased with more reviews, and more reviews is one of the criteria to qualify for BookBub special deals.

  • Google “Genre + reviewers” to find book reviewers to contact
  • Find reviewers on Amazon top 10,000 reviewer list, in the genre you write.
  • Send a polite email with the description of your book and ask politely for a review if interested, then Bryan suggests adding a joke at the bottom of the email to stand apart from the crowd.

I know joking is a hit or miss problem, because humour is different in different countries, so not sure if that would work when emailing strangers asking for reviews.

Also, I believe if you want to be seen as professional, you should only get reviews from publisher magazines or newspapers. For that you have to send out ARCs 3-6 months before the book is ready for release so that the reviewer can read and write the review, and you have time to add the reviews to the back cover or inside the book before release.

Another point is Amazon reviews don’t translate across to iTunes, Barnes&Noble and other distributor reviews. Unless someone can tell me how to do that. 🙂

But, I see no harm in asking for Amazon Reviewers to review your novels if you want reviews to apply to BookBub for a promotional deal. However, I suggest you do not pay for reviews.

2] How to make new readers excited to click the link to purchase.

On any of the web distributors the cover catches the attention of readers, then they read the blurb or copy, then some read the reviews but others just read the sample of the book and when finished purchase if they want to keep reading.

So, we come to copywriting.

Bryan suggests you need the following in the blurb:

1: A tagline/logline/headline eg. “Tyranny. Murder. Hope.”
2: A synopsis eg. “Name character, emotional connection, main conflict, raise stakes.”
3: Selling Paragraph eg.

  • Non-fiction = “Pose Problem, Show solution, Expertise, Benefits”
  • Fiction = “What it is and why like it”

4: Call to action = “Click link”

3] Where to find potential customers and how to convince them to visit my web site

Bryan suggests paid marketing on Facebook:
1: testing and targets
2: The story cover is the image
3: Use copywriting to get the attention of potential readers, which is the same as the blurb: Headline, Selling paragraph and Call to Action.

This was a repeat of Facebook Ads for Authors webinar I watched some time back by Nick Stevenson and Rick Mulready.

Bryan also suggested other paid marketing (such as Ereader News Today), and social media sites.

I have never used Ereader News Today site, and strongly suggest you check the prices and the number of email list subscribers in your genre before you pay their site for advertising.

I think you could create an advertisement from the above steps and use it on your own site to entice your readers/visitors to sign up to your email list, or place the advertisement in the back of your novels for readers to click through to your site to sign up to your email list, or even include it in your email newsletters.

I also want to point out that in the book “Writing Copy for Dummies” in Chapter 2: Writing Copy 101: The building Blocks covers:
1. Headlines = tagline/logline/headline
2. Body = fulfilling promise in headlines (synopsis) & selling paragraphs
3. The close = Call to Action.

It cost me about A$40.00 but you could borrow it from your local library and read through.

4] How to turn traffic into email subscribers you can email about future releases

You need a landing page using the same image and text as your Advertisement so the customers can click through to sign up to your email list and receive your gift.

I have a landing page for signing up to my email list, and I use Mailchimp.

Bryan suggests only having one option = a button to sign up. So, nothing new there.

However, I will look at my blog landing page and see if I can improve the copywriting and image.

5] What to send to your email list to make them purchase your books.

Bryan suggests setting up five or more automatic emails to sent to the new subscribers

1. Deliver the gift and thank them for signing up
2. Check-in about the gift a week or so later
3. Ask the subscriber if they want to connect on other platforms (Blog/Twitter/Facebook,etc)
4. Pitch the next book
5. Invite them to your “Street Team” or “Advanced Reader List”

I don’t recommend sending that many emails once the subscriber signed up and got their gift!

If you send too many emails after the subscriber signed up they will unsubscribe.

Only send out newsletters to the timeframe you stated on the sign up page. You can include questions in your newsletter about other platforms, advise them of the next book with links to preorders pages, and ask if they want to become an advanced reader for future books.

Final thoughts:

The whole webinar used PowerPoint slides, which went in and out of focus the whole hour of the webinar.

It could have been my poor internet connection or a fault with the Webinarjam program.

At the end, Bryan gave his call to action to purchase his training, but he lost me when he said his time was worth US$400.00 an hour.

I didn’t bother to listen for his actual price, which I would guess is around US$197 – US$297 for the course, with no guarantees that sales would pick up after applying what he teaches.

Not even our Prime Minister or the US President is worth US$400.00 an hour, even though the Australian Prime Minister is earning more than the US President each year. I thought that was an interesting fact I would throw into this article. 🙂

I do have Writing Copy for Dummies. I also have How to Write Fiction Sales Copy by Dean Wesley Smith.

I will add, after I applied Dean’s basic copy format to my latest stories, I have been selling steadily. I am very happy with that. And have rewriting my blurbs on all the older novels on my To Do List, as soon as I get free time.

Now I have to wait for “word of mouth” advertising by the readers to get even more sales each day.

Also, I am sure that paying a copywriter to write each blurb (fiverr & other sites), would be cheaper than purchasing the course.

So, using the formula for a fiction book blurb above, or following Dean Wesley Smith’s suggestions, you can write your own blurbs. And you could check the top 100 selling fiction stories and see if their blurbs fit the above formula. And if not, ask why not.

My take on the webinar may not be the same as your take on the webinar. So, feel free to discuss your take on the webinar in the comments.

Keep writing and having fun.


2 comments so far

  1. E.K. Carmel on

    Lol. So the Australian PM earns more than the US President? Good for him!

    I’m all for learning more and improving, but I find a lot of these free webinars are basically rehashing the same info. In fact, some of the sales copy writing, I remember from way back in Holly Lisle classes! And I like the way she explained it better. 🙂

    • D J Mills on

      Yes, mostly rehashing the same info. Learn it once, put into practice and leave the next FREE webinar alone.

      Always ask the WIBBOW test (would I be better off writing?), and the answer will mostly be “Yes. Then write the next story. 🙂

      I am working on that now, along with proofing a print copy, editing another story, and just finished another Stage 4 Writer course.

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