What do these new titles mean? As a marketing manager, you have to spread the word about your book and build buzz about it. This will make some people interested or curious about the book. These people will visit your sales site. As a sales manager, your job is to convert these visitors into customers. Your differentiating statements are the key to converting visitors.

These statements tell the world why your book is important and why readers should buy it. This is a vital aspect of self marketing. Consider this, thousands of new books are available every month. Consequently, your book is competing with all of these other books for readers’ attention and money. Your book should stand out from all the others and convince readers to fork over money to get a copy.

Marketing and selling on the Internet is a completely different process from other more traditional sales channels. There are two main reasons for this difference. First, you are selling from websites, not in person. You don’t know the website visitors and most of them don’t know you. A second reason is that website visitors are fickle and fleeting; they don’t act like leads in a physical bookstore. Those customers roam browsing. Website visitors don’t.

To sell your book, you must change a sales plan. Yes, I have a dirty plan. You are the sales manager in charge of selling the book, and the sales managers develop sales plans. After developing the plan, you implement it. A vital element in a sales plan is the differentiation statement. Once the statement is developed, you can use it in various places to attract readers’ interest.

The good news about the statement is that, unlike many other marketing activities, it is free. It can also be completed before the book is published. I start working on a differentiation statement for a new book long before it is finished. This gives me plenty of time to play with the messages and refine them.

There are three tasks involved in developing your book’s differentiation statement. You need a Tone line then you have to answer two questions. The first is: What’s in it for the buyer?? and the second is: What is different about this book??

Basically what this process entails is developing three short sentences or paragraphs that can be used to sell your book. Tea tone line It is the hook to capture the attention of the readers. Its purpose is to persuade the reader to read the two statements that follow the tone line. Your presentation line should be simple, a few sentences at most, and it should make a clear statement about your book.

What’s in it for buyers?? it is a statement that explains what the reader (that is, the buyer of a book) will get for money. This must be explicit. This statement is not the place to get cute. Don’t look like the legendary used car salesman. Tell readers what profit they will get from buying the book. Think of this statement this way: If your book is surrounded by hundreds of books on a bookstore shelf, what would persuade the buyer to choose your book over one of the others?

What is different about this book? With all the books published each month, what makes your book stand out from the rest?

These dry descriptions are hard to understand, so I’ll use an example that I made up.

Your name is Homer and you are a wandering storyteller who travels from town to town telling a long story you wrote about a war. You can usually count on a free bed and food from the villagers, but now you think you’re ready for prime time in major Greek cities. You think a lot about how to make the leaders of the big cities know your story and get them interested in hearing it. So you develop a statement of differentiation. Once finished, he hires a messenger to deliver the declaration to Athens, Sparta, Thebes, and Corinth.

Here is your statement of differentiation.

Pitch: A lewd queen escapes with a handsome visiting prince and starts a great war.

What’s in it for the listener?

Graphic descriptions of a nasty war, great heroes, nosy gods and goddesses. The story is the culmination of a ten-year war.

What is different about this story?

The tale demonstrates the superiority of Greek culture and warriors. Against the world’s greatest power in the Aegean, the Greek army makes its way to the invincible walled city of Troy.

Do you get the idea? How do you start? Grab a blank sheet of paper or start a new mind map file on your computer. Write down all the possible ideas that come to mind for each of the three statements. Don’t delete any ideas because you think they’re too silly. This ‘silly idea’ can trigger a great thought or two later on. Keep refining the ideas. Add more ideas, combine others. Over time, the ideas will narrow down to a few key thoughts, but it may take more than one session to get there. The next step is to cover up the remaining ideas in sentences for each component of the statement. This is another repetitive exercise. Keep writing new sentences, rephrase, combine, rearrange. Over time, your differentiating statements will evolve.

Once you develop the full statement, don’t sit back and relax. You need at least one, preferably two, paraphrases of the message. They are used to repeat the message, to emphasize it, without using the same words.

What do you do with these statements after developing them? You stick them anywhere they fit. On your website, blogs, announcements, press releases, in your trailer. If you can’t fit the entire statement somewhere (like Twitter), use the tone line on its own.

Here are some uses of the differentiation statement.


If your book has a printed version, the back cover is the ideal place to place your statement of differentiation. If you’re like me, when you pick up a book, you look at the back cover. A great differentiating statement can make the difference between the customer choosing your book or putting it back on the shelf. Obviously, for it to appear on the back cover, you will need to develop the statements before submitting the cover.


On your website’s book buying website page, make the introductory line your opening statement followed by the rest of your differentiating message. Why? Earlier, I mentioned that on the Internet, visitors are fickle and their attention span is too small to measure. When these visitors land on your web page, you have a second or two to persuade them to read beyond the first line of text they see. That’s the job of your presentation line: to get visitors to keep reading. The next statement (what’s in it for the buyer) has to tell them that there is something of value here, something they can use or enjoy. Finally, your page tells you what is different about your book, what is in it that you cannot find elsewhere. If this works, visitors will read further where they can learn how to get a copy and how much it will cost. If you get a sale, you have accomplished the difficult process of converting a visitor to a customer.


Make sure your differentiating statements are clearly visible and emphasized in the trailer. Get the message at the beginning and end of the trailer. Countless people around the world can see the progress and you want them to understand your message. When you get a first cut of the trailer, make sure the statements are heard. If not, have the towing company modify the trailer.


Log into social media sites and post an announcement that your book is available. Include the differentiating message in the ad. If space is limited, make sure the tone line is in the ad.

Log into book sites like Goodreads and Librarything. Add information about your book. You can upload the cover and add a descriptive text about it. Make sure the text includes your differentiating messages and place it at the beginning of the text.


Display your differentiation messages prominently. Make them the opening statement in the body of the release. Restate the message and place it a second time lower in the body.


Use the signature capability in your email program to create a unique signature using the tone line itself. Link that presentation line to your book-selling website. Now every time you send an email, you are also releasing your book.


This is a website that allows you to give potential buyers the opportunity to read a sample of your book. I put these widgets on the purchase page of each of my books. If a visitor clicks on the widget, they are shown a “The Story Behind the Book” blurb while the sample loads. This is an ideal place to put a paraphrased statement of differentiation. It will prime the reader for the sample. It should be a paraphrased version because the reader may have already read the main statement on the website before clicking on the Bookbuzzr widget.


Make sure your media kit includes the statements when describing your book because media types should be impressed as well as website visitors.


Get the statement, or at least the presentation line, in bookmarks and business cards.

In conclusion, let me tell you that once you have completed your differentiation statements, you will have taken a big step in getting people to buy your book. Always look for additional opportunities to show it off.

Keep going! You can do it!

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