“Positioning is everything,” a published author exclaimed during a panel discussion on book marketing at a writing seminar I attended last weekend. He has a point. Over the years as I’ve moved from one interest to another, I did my best work when I confronted the question, “What is my project’s position in the marketplace?”
I see positioning as a dynamic, on-going process—not just something you do when you launch a book or when the market changes. Using language that is positive and sales oriented, a positioning statement or product profile, as it is sometimes called—should be part of every marketing meeting and business plan. If, for example, you relate reader’s objections to your basic positioning you will, I believe, address them more effectively. Moreover, if you understand the positioning of your book, you are much more likely to discover potential new revenue streams, spin-offs and new books.
Unlike well-known authors, unknown authors especially can’t afford to spend substantial promotion dollars to reinforce their position in the marketplace. Instead, they must make sure that every thing they do reinforces their position.
One way to approach positioning is to ask, “ What is the unique benefit my book delivers to readers?”
Slogans, or one-liners, can express an author’s position and convey the image and benefit you want the reader to understand. But not always. It’s generally very difficult to describe your unique selling proposition in a single phrase.
It is all right to glamorize your positioning statement. Everyone who sells a product makes it look more glamorous than the real thing. When you say your audience is 20 plus, there may be people under 18 or over 30. But always be faithful to the basic statement.
Continuous evaluation of your positioning is difficult work. It usually gets short shrift when you are dealing with day-to-day problems. But as hard as it seems to put pencil to paper, the task does get easier with time.