Writing Is Hard Work

Musings of a Hard Working Writer...

  • Roger Colby

How to Market a Book Using Science


Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action“.  Simon is a leadership expert who discusses at length in his TED talk about how someone can get the public to buy what we are selling.

He does this with simple principles found in science.

After watching this TED talk, I realized that Sinek’s ideas can be applied to the world of self-publishing…and that I was going about it all wrong.

Sinek talks about the “golden circle”, a process by which ideas become desirable to others, something that two companies have either figured out or have not.  He mentions Apple and TiVo in the TED talk, and uses them as examples of how to use the golden circle.


I reasoned that my “why” was that I am a bored science fiction reader.  I feel like I’ve read it all.  I decided that my “why” was that I was going to focus on writing science-fiction for the sci-fi reader who shares my sentiment.  So much science fiction written today is a re-hash of things already done.  My “why” or my heart, the thing that I share with my readership is that I want to take those stupid tropes that are overused and change them a bit, write something fresh.

I realized that I was going from the “what” inward toward the “why” in regard to marketing my books.  Sinek says that is not how our brains are wired.  The two central circles in the diagram represent the part of the brain that is geared toward emotion, while the outer circle is geared toward the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain that deals with facts.

The point is that people are won by slogans and by emotional ties.  Sure, you can market your book on the plot, the genre, or what it offers (a gripping story perhaps), but what people care about is really “will this book cure my boredom?”  You have to convince them in the blurb or you won’t convince them.

This boils down to two rules:

  1. In the book blurb, don’t write about the plot at all.  Write about your passion.  Write about why you write.  Write about the why.  Share with the reader your passion which in my case is to specifically write books that are designed to cure the jaded science-fiction reader’s case of “what to read next”.

  2. Work outward toward the what.  Let the plot or the theme be brief and at the end of the pitch.  It needs to be indelibly tied to the “why” of rule 1.  It is, after all, secondary.

I suggest you watch the TED talk.  Sinek also talks further about the Law of Diffusion of Innovation.  This goes further to explaining how people accept new and interesting innovations and how you can use this to reach mass market success.

I have since changed the bio on my author page to reflect this, as well as designing a new approach to my new short story compilation due out in a few weeks.  More on that in a later blog post.

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