Writing a Sales Letter to Market Your Fiction

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There are several ways to jump start sales for a new work of fiction, but one of the most effective selling points is your sales letter. With the proper format and layout, your marketing letter can do a majority of the selling for you, just leaving you with the task of getting eyes on your letter. Most traditional publishers rely on submitting your book title and description to all the major bookstores, but if you self-publish your fiction, this will give you a leading edge to start racking in some great sales.

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Writing a sales letter is a simple eight-step process that involves a little bit of marketing and writing skills. With the proper format, this can not only attract your readers, but can also interest them so much that they simply have to buy whatever it is you are ultimately selling.

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In order to market your fiction in the best possible fashion, you must first determine the angle of your marketing piece. By angle, I mean the unique approach you will use to gather your reader’s undivided attention. An angle is a component that captures your reader’s attention with an astonishing twist that keeps them reading your sales letter once they start. It can be a true story related to your book such as how you came up with the story idea, or something else to that nature. It can most certainly be an actual exciting excerpt from your book that makes readers beg for more by the time they finish reading the first paragraph.

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The next crucial component, and probably the most important, is your headline! You’ve been to the store and seen those outlandish tabloids lining the bookracks, haven’t you? Each of them contains fantastic headlines so outrageous that you just have to pick them up and read the farfetched stories they are trying to sell. Amazingly, they work and tabloids rake in millions of dollars each month selling those fiction stories.

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It’s amazing how a single headline can be so intriguing that you have to open up the paper just to see what it’s all about. The same goes with your fiction sales letter headline. Your headline needs to reach out and grab your reader’s attention. This will usually be the first thing your reader sees that starts them reading the rest of your marketing letter.

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Your intriguing headline can be a short excerpt from your story such as follows: “John felt a soft scrape across the top of his left shoulder. The air in the room escaped as he slowly turned to see…” This particular headline makes the reader curious as to what John saw once he turned around. Make your headline so strong that your reader wants to continue reading to find out more!

The next component of your sales letter is an opening that adds drama and completes your angle all in two to three paragraphs following your headline. Your opening is important because it makes your visitor feel as though you are talking directly to them. Use the word “you” a lot throughout your opening. Also, start your opening with a salutation such as “Dear fiction reader” or “Dear mystery enthusiast” to call attention to your audience. Remember, you are talking to the person reading your letter. Don’t think of it as a bunch of people reading it; think of it as one person reading it. Your sales letter opening should introduce your story and give a brief description of what your story is about; however, don’t give away too much information. Keep your readers in suspense.

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Your next step is to explain to your readers how they will benefit from reading your story. You should tell the reader the entertainment value of your book. Think about how you would benefit by reading your book, then think about how they can benefit. Everyone wants something of value if they are expected to pay money for something. Add value to your book during this stage of your sales letter.

Since you are the author of the fiction work, you are consequentially assumed partial of your own work. A simple solution to set your readers at ease is to add a testimonial or two that raves about your book. A simple way to get testimonials is to give a copy of your work to a few people for free on the condition that they let you know what they thought about it. Quote them word for word about how they felt about your masterpiece and add this to your sales letter as your next step in the process.

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If you notice, most best selling novels have a page or two dedicated to brief testimonials from various media sources saying how good their book is. Prospective buyers want to hear from others about what they thought. Don’t use negative remarks, as this will kill any attempt you may have at selling your book. Use these negative remarks as constructive feedback to potentially make your work better.

A properly written sales letter should be similar to a query letter you submit to a literary agent. With all letters, you lead to a conclusion. The next step, therefore, is to conclude your marketing letter with a closing statement. You should try to tie the closing statement in with your opening to make your letter flow. This is also where you add an action element into your marketing piece. A typical desired action can be to subscribe to your newsletter, visit your book’s website, or download a sample of your book; the list of potential actions
is limitless. Remember, the key focus of your entire sales letter is to make your readers want to read your book, so send them where they can view a sample of your book, or ultimately buy your book. You can also send them to a mailing list signup where they will consequently receive a link to your book’s purchase page. Complete your closing statement with your name and book title directly underneath it as your signature.

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You’re not done yet. Next you should re-establish your sales pitch before completely ending your sales letter. Add a P.S. to the bottom of your marketing letter to capture your reader’s attention one last time. Touch back upon your angle and benefits your readers will get from your story. The way people read your letter is starting with your headline, reading your opening, skipping to the bottom to see who wrote the letter, and naturally the P.S. at the bottom. This is an expected tendency of someone reading your advertisement, so ensure you emphasize what actions you want them to take somewhere within these areas.

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Finally, put your sales letter to work by placing it on your home page of your web site word for word where your work is ultimately sold. This is what is going to captivate your potential buyers when they visit your web site and make them want to purchase your book. In addition, you can use this letter as an email advertisement or newsletter broadcast. Don’t mention “buy my book” or “you must purchase your copy of my book today” anywhere in this marketing letter. This is selling and may turn people off. It is already implied that you want to sell your book. Just tell people why they should buy it, not that they should buy it, and they will buy it.

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Think of your sales letter as walking onto a car lot to buy a new car: A good salesman won’t tell you that you have to buy the car you are looking at. They romance you into buying the car by telling you all the great benefits of the particular car you are interested in. Romance your potential readers the same way and you will sell more books than if you simply tell them to buy your book.

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Jason Moser is a self-published author and web developer. For more information related to this topic or how to write and publish fiction, visit http://www.write-and-publish-fiction.com.

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