12 Tweaks You Must Make To Sell More Non-Fiction Books

Empathy. That’s what you need to “adopt” with your market to sell large volumes of non-fiction books.

And although it may be hard to accept as a self-published author – you’re also a marketer. The publishing landscape has changed. Traditional publishers may have handled marketing in the past – at a cost – but as self-publishers today…

You must walk the marketing ropes.

The side effect has many great benefits (to you and your readers).

One of which – will make you write better books.

Because marketing is about EMPATHY with your customer. Forget how 95% of people approach marketing – shouting louder, with more exuberant claims, and 12-step funnels…

Marketing is about “understanding.”

It’s about tailoring your books, products and services – like a glove – to your reader and customer. It’s the way it should have always been, but behind all the bro’ marketing; forgotten.

Queue Peter Drucker on the topic:

It’s crucial that you get to know your potential readers on a deeper, more emotional level. Your competitors won’t, and that’s to your advantage. And who doesn’t need one of those online today?

Here’s how:

You need to have “solid insights” into your market’s needs, wants, desires and struggles. A book that addresses and overcomes them all – will, in time, separate itself from the pack.

There’s no point in spending weeks and months writing a book nobody wants to read. One that provides little value in addressing the problem(s) your audience wants to overcome.

We’re creators. We make change; a difference.

So put your best foot forward…

And read these important tips you’ll want to consider when writing your current – or next – book:


1. Find the problem they need to solve

You want to “zero in” on the key problems, challenges and frustrations your market wants to solve while providing a practical step-by-step solution to dealing with them. We can only achieve this through “dedicated research.”

Research that most self-published authors are unwilling to do.

This can come from a variety of sources; interviews, surveys, books, podcasts, Amazon reviews, open-ended questions, etc.

The goal here is to understand their pains and wants—their true motivation to act when buying your book, so you can provide exactly what they want.

2. Don’t make promises unless…

Promises are powerful.

They get people to move and take action.

But don’t promise something you can’t deliver. Readers instinctively know: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

They come with a responsibility to deliver on them. But they can also backfire if you make unrealistic ones; or over-promise and under-deliver in your book.

What value will your book provide to your readers?

The tone of your content must be honest and confident. Authentic and reassuring. Not pushy, giving the sense you want to sell something else to fulfil the promise you already made.

3. Cut the fluff

Your goal should be to provide the quickest, easiest-to-digest solution to your reader’s problem.

In short: cut the fluff. Every paragraph in your book should serve a purpose to move your readers toward their objective.

Today, nobody wants to read a bible on any subject.

Provide the “essential,” the “step-by-step,” the “quickstart guide.” Don’t over-explain your solution. Keep it direct. To the point. And focused.

Give readers what they want—an end result—without the fluff.

4. Choose one solution

People want solutions to problems, and they’re willing to pay (handsomely) for them. But they’re looking for one solution they can use. A ‘step-by-step’ solution that works.

As an author of non-fiction, your goal should be to draw focus to that one solution.

Many smart marketers and copywriters draw attention to their offers using a USP; a unique mechanism; a big idea. The more you can present your solution in the form of a “big idea,” the more compelling your book title will be—resulting in more exposure and royalties.

Example titles:

Rich Dad, Poor Dad; 4-Hour Work-Week; Building a Second-Brain.

5. Keep it short

Don’t write 400 pages about one topic. No one wants to read hundreds of thousands of words on any given topic. Like I said earlier, you’re not writing the bible on a given subject. You’re providing a tangible solution to a real problem. Provide it and move on; 20,000 – 30,000 words is the sweet spot.

6. Get to the meat

Don’t beat around the bush or spend too much time explaining yourself. You want to get “right to the point” and identify the problem. If you want to tell a story, that’s fine. Stories help keep the attention of your readers … but you have to find a way to tell the story while still presenting the problem and getting to the point.

7. Engage your audience

You have to find ways to keep your readers engaged. (Like above, stories work well) Not only do you want to provide them with valuable information, but you also want it to be engaging and interesting.

8. Use metaphors where possible

Write creatively where it makes the most sense. Don’t be overly flowery but feel free to inject metaphors in your work where possible. This also helps to engage your audience and showcases your personality.

9. Build desire and anticipation

When done correctly, this can be extremely powerful. If you can refer to future chapters to build desire and anticipation, do it. This creates a connection to your content, hooking your readers to you and your book … and they’ll not be able to put it down until they find out the answers their seeking.

10. Create a compelling TOC

Your table of contents (TOC) is the backbone of your book. You should create it before you start writing … but be flexible if you need to tweak it or move things around. Your TOC is what people are likely to review before deciding to buy your book. Make it count. Make it compelling. Where possible, give your chapters and sub-chapters interesting names. You want people to be intrigued enough to purchase your book.

11. Address their questions

During your research, you’ll find out more about your intended audience’s challenges, questions, wants, needs and desires. You could address these questions as chapters in your book … nothing wrong with that at all. Or, you could incorporate an FAQ section as one of the chapters in your book.

12. Under-promise and over-deliver

Remember back to a positive experience you had when someone went above and beyond their normal duty?

How did that make you feel?

Why not over-deliver in your book and give away additional resources, cheat sheets, checklists, software tools etc., to make your customers’ lives easier?

Do you think this will lead to happy customers who leave positive reviews and recommend your books to their friends?

You bet.