Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hooked by Andy Scheer

I often coach writers how to attract and hook readers. This past weekend I found myself viewing promotional material as a customer – and I'm pleased to report my experience matches the theory.

Browsing the literature tables between appointments at a writers conference, I didn't expect to find a title I wanted to buy. I own enough unread books to keep me busy for more than a year.

Then I saw the five by seven promo card displaying the cover of a January release. One glance convinced me I needed the book.

I took in a mid-1940s New York street scene including Harlem's Apollo theater where Sarah Vaughn was headlining. The title type of “Nobody Knows” immediately evoked the famous spiritual – which I didn't realize was connected with Harry T. Burleigh. Nor did I know that Burleigh, as the subtitle proclaimed, was “one of the most influential figures in American music.”

But from multiple interactions at conferences I did know the author, Craig von Buseck. His credibility as a writer sealed the deal. As a student of American music of the early twentieth century, I needed this book.

The back of the card's display type and short paragraph further convinced me of the decision I'd made in less than ten seconds. This story would deliver the kind of information I want to know.

For me the endorsement by Eric Metaxas, the author of the bestselling biography Bonhoeffer, was redundant. By that point, the evidence in favor of purchasing Nobody Knows was pressed down, shaken together, and running over.

That evening I sat with Craig and asked him for details – some previews of the story I look forward to reading. I took a few additional cards since I know a professional singer who gives educational concerts on historic African-American composers and musicians. She doubtless knows others who will also want to buy the book.

Craig outlined his plans for the book's launch. I suggested multiple ideas, but they all matched ones he'd put into place. Considering how well he'd hooked me as a part of his target audience, I shouldn't be surprised.

The early months of next year will tell if Craig's plans succeed. As always, God gives the increase. But Craig's put himself in a position where success shouldn't come as a surprise.

1 comment:

Davalyn Spencer said...

Excellent example of what to do.