The Selle Business Blog

 Changing the world through positive impact

from a natural and organic business consultant

New Authors: Capture Your Features, Benefits & Beyond

book publishing Apr 22, 2024
book covers by Holly Bellebuono

If you’ve written a book and you’re ready to either promote it to a publisher or sell it yourself, you need to crystalize your marketing plan. In my experience publishing 7 books in three languages, with the 8th due to release Spring 2025, I’ve learned that part of your marketing should include telling potential readers what its features and benefits are.

In the natural products industry running an herbal apothecary, I was adept at explaining the features and benefits of my herbal products. They came easily—healing salves made from hand-harvested organic plants and professionally blended into a reliable skin ointment. Benefits included quick topical healing for rashes and wounds, great natural scent, portable, and so much more.

But a book? How do you describe features and benefits of a manuscript or book? Believe it or not, your book has features and hopefully it will benefit its readers. It’s up to you to define these and promote them as reasons people should purchase your product.

What Are Features & Benefits?

A feature is straightforward. It’s what your product contains or is made of. For instance, a sunscreen contains SPF factor or zinc so that it keeps damaging sun rays off your skin. The SPF is a feature. The benefit of this feature is that it keeps you from getting sunburned. The feature is what it is, the benefit is what it does.

For a book, a feature could be a table or graph, a foreword, photographs or illustrations, or maps. The book contains these and they are identifiable parts or sections of the book. Perhaps the book features letters written by people a hundred years ago, or translated lectures. These are features.

The benefits are how these features and the book as a whole helps or supports a reader. For a children’s workbook, the added lines where children can practice their handwriting (a feature) creates opportunities for children to practice and increase their confidence in writing (the benefit).

Nonfiction books often teach something, so the learning is the benefit. But what about a memoir or a book of fiction? As the author, it’s up to you to identify how the reader will grow, shift, adjust, transform, or otherwise benefit from the book. What will the reader gain? How will it change the way they think about things?

Beyond Features and Benefits

The bennies may sell the book, but thinking beyond these will really propel your book further. Consider what’s going to happen after the reader turns to the last page, reads it and finishes the book. Then what? How can you continue their experience and capture their interest after they’ve read the last page?

Perhaps you can extend the benefits. What about hosting a retreat where readers can meet together in person (or online) to discuss the book or ask you questions? Perhaps you can invite readers to share their emotions or their own personal experiences related to the topic. These can be bonding experiences and added benefits for someone who truly enjoyed your book.

Other fun things can keep the interest going (and be considered benefits): host a contest, play games, ask for alternative endings, host spontaneous book readings with excerpts and behind-the-scene notes. Can you teach a course where people can dive deeper into your subject? Host a reading party? Share interviews with yourself and your readers?

The straightforward features such as graphs and maps may be set within the confines of the book’s covers, but the benefits can continue. By being able to identify these early and share what readers can expect, you can boost the interest in your book and increase your readership for the long-term.

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