How To Recommend A Book

by Randy Murray on May 9, 2011

In preparation for launching Patrick Rhone’s new book, Keeping It Straight there were a LOT of materials to prepare. One of them you might not have seen is the standard Press Release. Penny does all of the editing, both here at First Today, Then Tomorrow, and also for First Today Press. She noted, quite rightly, that there’s an important difference between explaining why someone might want to buy a book and getting them to want to read it. I’ve asked her to share her thoughts and lay out this important distinction.



When potential readers read about a book, what they want to know is not so much why you think they should buy the book as why they, personally, would want to read it.

If they want to read it, they will find it and either buy or borrow it. (Often, as you have pointed out here, borrowing and lending of books leads directly to further sales.) The buying will almost take care of itself once you have told them why they want to read it.

So, while it is necessary to give the writer’s background, previous work and books or publications (blog, podcasts, etc.), and bonafides and qualifications, including relationships and contacts with the publisher, it isn’t sufficient to do so.

You must go on to tell the reader why the reader wants to read it, not why you want them to buy it (or read it). It will help or make easier their lives, their work, their relationships, their mana, their karma, their arthritis, or whatever it will help, or hopes to help. Or it will make them feel good, feel sad, wring their hearts, let them feel joy or triumph, introduce them to characters they will never forget, let them discover a new artist on the rise, or an established one at the peak of a career, find expression of their innermost soul, let them complete their work more quickly and with less stress, make them better parents… whatever the case may be for the work in question.

And making such claims is only the beginning, not the end. How will the book do it? With great personal insights; with the writer’s proven cures, recipes, or the gift of laughter; with deft timesavers and shortcuts that do not cut the result short; with character- or physique-building practices and exercises for which the writer is already world-famous (perhaps in some other sphere of life, in a past life, by association, having coached someone else, perhaps coached many someones…) etc. etc.

The readers will decide to buy or borrow the book because they want to read it. So you need to tell them why they want to read this book, right now.

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