Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Create A Memorable Message

As I’ve been driving around town, I’ve been listening to some writing tapes. A panel was talking about book creation and in particular book promotion. One speaker, a media coach, suggested you create six sound bites (or short segments) which are the key messages from your book. You will want to have these messages written down—and practice them.

This media coach told about working with a client on these six key points. The pair crafted their points then she sent the writer off to practice. When the pair connected for another session the next day, there was no improvement.  Then the coach asked the writer if she practiced. “Of course, I practiced,” the writer retorted.

“Did you practice reading the sound bites aloud,” the coach asked. To the writer’s chagrin, she admitted that she had silently read the points several times without saying anything aloud. Sound bites are meant to be used verbally or out loud.  You need to craft these key messages and have them firmly in your mind.  Then when you have a media interview or participate in a radio interview or even a television segment, you can naturally weave these sound bites into the session.

Why work on it ahead of time? It’s because these sessions happen on a fast-paced schedule. In what seems like the blink of an eye, your session will be over. When you walk away from the interview or hang up the phone or whatever, you want to make sure you’ve gotten several of your key talking points into that interview.

What if you get a question which is off base and you have no idea how to answer? A publicist on this panel suggested an interesting solution: just transition with something like, “Well, that’s an interesting question…” then move right into one of your key talking points for your book. Some of you may be sputtering, “What about the question you didn’t answer?” The publicist said, “No one will recall the question but they will remember your answer. The answer is critical and it’s important for you to shape that answer with your message.”

OK, you don’t have a book to promote but are at an earlier stage where you are trying to get a publisher to take your book in the first place. How can you apply this material to your writing?  You will need these six points (or maybe it’s ten points or twelve points for a book). These points will be the keys to your book proposal. They will be the marketing hooks for your idea to get a publisher enthused about the potential audience. They will be crucial to your success in finding a publisher. If you don’t know the key point or points of your message, then you can’t make it memorable. It will simply be one more email or one more manuscript in the editor’s pile to process.

Let’s get out of that slush pile and create a memorable message that translates into helping many people in the days ahead.


5 Comment:

At 2:43 PM, Blogger Mary DeMuth Left a note...

This is helpful as I start the interview process in a few weeks. Thanks!

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Shesawriter Left a note...

Hi Terry,

I'm currently enduring the submission process now. My agent started back in October, so I'm expecting a wild rush of rejections to flood in any day. (g) Okay, I'm supposed to think positive. I'm expecting .... responses any day now. (vbg) I stumbled across your blog last week and have since returned. I love you insightful posts.


At 9:01 PM, Blogger Dineen A. Miller Left a note...

So, let's say, in reguards to a book, you have 10 to 12 key points. Is one of them the high concept or do they support the theme?

At 7:22 AM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


There is no right or wrong way to build the book part of the memorable message--but I would say you will build those 10-12 points toward a unified theme. My key point in this post was to talk about preparing several key messages from your book--then using those messages repeatedly in the promotion process.

The Writing Life

At 8:39 AM, Blogger HarryC Left a note...

Good job, Terry. These are great tips for anyone working to promote a message.


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