Marketing: “The Reason Why”

By Randy Ingermanson

From time to time in your career as an author, you’ll need to write sales copy. At the very least, you’ll need to send an e-mail to your fans when you launch a book. There’s no getting around this. Your publisher will expect it, and your fans (by definition) want to know when you’ve got a new book out.

In your sales copy, you’ll make an offer. Every author I know hates making an offer, but unless you make an offer, you aren’t going to make very many sales. That’s just the way people are wired. Most people won’t take action unless you ask them to. And the way you ask is by making them an offer.

There are two basic parts to an offer:

  1. Here’s what you get.
  2. Here’s how much you’ll need to pay.

For obvious reasons, you want to make part 1 of the offer as good as possible. On Launch Day, it’s fairly common to offer some freebies to go along with your book. And for equally obvious reasons, you want to make part 2 of the offer as low as possible. On Launch Day, it’s fairly common to give a discounted price. (You may not have control of the price, so this may not be an option.) Your goal on Launch Day is to make the offer irresistible, because you want to spike your sales. That’s your best shot at getting on a bestseller list.

“What’s the Catch?”

The problem with irresistible offers is that modern people are skilled at resisting them. We’ve all heard crazy-good offers that turned out bogus—they were too good to be true. So when you hear a great offer, your immediate reaction is “What’s the catch? Why such a good offer?” You need to be ready with an answer. Part of your sales copy should respond to this question.

“There Is No Catch, and Here’s the Reason Why”

Your sales copy needs to give “the reason why” you’re making such a great offer. “The reason why” is the evidence your fans need in order to know that there is no catch.

What’s your reason for giving out freebies on Launch Day? There are several possible answers you might give:

  • Your true fans have made you a success. This is your way of saying thanks.
  • Some of the freebies were provided by your fellow authors, who are giving out the freebie to get some free exposure to your fans. It’s good PR for them, and it’s good for you, and it’s good for your fans, so everybody wins.
  • You’re giving away some things to your true fans that you’d normally sell. You hope they’ll like it and spread the word. That’s great word-of-mouth advertising for you.

You can probably think of other possible answers. I consider it a good answer if it gives a reasonable explanation AND if it’s true. What’s your reason for giving a discounted price on Launch Day? Again, there are several possible reasons you might give:

  • It’s a way to thank your true fans for their loyal support.
  • It’s a way to boost sales on Launch Day. You’re hoping you’ll get a spike in sales and hit a bestseller list.
  • It lowers the price barrier for people who never heard of you. If they buy your book and like it, they’ll become one of your true fans, and in the long run, that’s good for you.

Again, you can probably think of other answers. And again, I consider it a good answer if it gives a reasonable explanation for the discount AND if it’s true.

The Reason Why is Essential

I’m pretty sure that giving “the reason why” is an essential part of writing good sales copy. I can’t prove this, because I haven’t run an experiment to see what happens if you don’t give “the reason why.” But I’m pretty sure I’ve always given “the reason why” when writing sales copy. And I’ve always been happy with the results of my launches.


  1. Do you have a new book to launch in the next few months?
  2. If so, what free goodies can you give away during the launch week?
  3. Also, what discount can you offer for buying your book during the launch week?
  4. And what’s the reason why you’re making such a great offer?

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.

Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit

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