Let’s discuss the difference between features and benefits this morning. “What?” you say, “that’s for salespeople. I’m a writer, after all!”
Well, if you have written or are writing a book that you hope to offer for sale, guess what? You are a salesperson with a product to sell, and there are a couple of things you’d better know: your audience (who is likely to want to buy and read this book?) and how to present your book to this audience—salesmanship. Part of this is understanding what is a feature and what is a benefit.
We buy benefits. We want to know, “What’s in it for me?” “What can this product do for me, give me, afford me?” “How can it help me to be better at something, be more accomplished, gain something—whether it is an outlook, health, a reality or riches?” Novel readers want to know that they will receive the entertainment value they’re paying for in time and money.
As authors, most of us without much sales experience, we tend to spew features when facing a potential reader—“It’s compact, pocket-size, large print, has 250 tips and techniques, includes a time-line for self-publishing, etc.” That’s all nice. But we haven’t answered the potential reader’s burning question, “What’s in it for me?” “Why should I read this book?” “What will I get out of it?”
Benefits might include:
• You can lose weight easily without starving and without surgery.
• Learn the secrets of world famous chefs and become the envy of your friends.
• Be slimmer by summer.
• Add three figures to your annual income in six months or less.
• Sell more copies of your book this year.
• Triple your number of book reviews.
• Get more blog visitors.
• Win more writing contests.
• Never feel left out again.
• Gain more confidence.
• You can’t stop laughing.
• You’ll never look at cowboys quite the same again.
• This story will touch you and entertain you for hours.
Sit down today with your book and separate out the features (which are probably what you present to potential readers) and benefits (those points that respond to, “What’s in it for me?”).
In the meantime, check out my two latest books—they both have features and benefits that are important to those of you who visit this blog. That is, authors at any stage of writing or promoting one or more books.
Publish Your Book, Proven Strategies and Resources for the Enterprising Author
Promote Your Book, Over 250 Proven Tips and Techniques for the Enterprising Author
Available at amazon.com and other online and downtown bookstores. Can also be ordered at the publisher’s website (Allworth Press) and the author’s website: http://www.matilijapress.com
What can these books do for you? What are the benefits? They will make you more savvy about the publishing industry, giving you a definite edge in the fiercely competitive publishing climate. They will help you get published, show you how to sell more books and make you a more successful author/bookseller. Imagine yourself collecting more checks and your bank account growing. Also visualize your book being read and enjoyed by thousands and thousands of people. These are the benefits you can glean from studying these two books and referencing them often.