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Develop a Marketing Position to Help Sell Your Writing

“Of making many books there is no end,” says the Bible. That was written more than 2,000 years ago; imagine how much more true it is today. In the 21st century, anyone with a computer can write and easily publish a book— alone carries more than 33 million titles.

Those facts obviously create a problem for writers. With so much competition for readers, how do you get your book or story to stand out from the crowd? One way is by creating a marketing position.

A marketing position is what makes a product or service—a story or book, in our case—different. We could call it an angle. We need an angle because no matter what we’re writing, whether it’s a nonfiction topic or a novel, someone has written about it before. And that someone is selling their story or book in direct competition to us.

Major advertisers understand the necessity of establishing a marketing position. For example, look at hamburger restaurants. There are dozens of burger chains, not to mention independent eateries. So how does anyone make their restaurant stand out? How do they appeal to people when so many others are selling essentially the same product? They develop their marketing position. Perhaps they’ll concentrate on price. “We have the least expensive burgers.” Or maybe size. “We sell the biggest burgers.” Or perhaps freshness, taste, or the fact that customers choose their own condiments. Any of those are realistic marketing positions.

In the same way, to market our story or book we need to figure out one angle to emphasize. Here’s an example of how I developed a marketing position for one of my books—“How to Promote Yourself (For Free) by Writing Media Releases.” I needed a marketing position because when I Googled “writing media releases” I got more than 500 million results. Even discounting irrelevant websites, it’s safe to say that my advice is not unique.

So my marketing position, or angle, is this: I teach the art of writing releases from the standpoint of a reporter and editor. Why is that an angle? Because most books that teach the topic approach it from the standpoint of the release writers. I approach the topic from the standpoint of release readers. During my journalism career, I read and acted upon thousands of releases. I, therefore, know what people who receive releases are looking for. I know what works and what doesn’t and teach my readers to write effective media releases.

I’ve listed a few topics below that have been written about endlessly. Anyone writing about one of these needs a marketing position. What marketing position would you choose if you were to write about one of these topics?

Preparing for retirement

Finding a romantic partner

Losing weight

A love story

Now think about your story or book. How is it different than the competition? What’s your marking position? As you develop a strategy to sell your work, decide what sets it apart from all the others. Then emphasize that angle.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Joe Wisinski