Friday, January 6, 2012

Book Benefits...and also features

We've covered the world of not-so-boring word count and also the world of laser-precision audience  and now we are on to book benefits (sounds sooo exciting!)

Now if you're writing fiction this proposal point won't challenge you much because...well, the benefits of fiction are usually similar depending on what genre you're writing. For instance, the benefit for a romance book better not be "This romance will make you think hard about where you invest your money!" And the benefit for a horror definitely shouldn't help us, "understand the complexities of overseas adoption." Fiction better entertain me, or scare me or make me fall in love before it teaches me anything, but then again if through the experience of entertaining me a book doesn't teach me something...anything--then we call that a romance! (Ha, ha, that's a joke...smiley face).

But seriously, what is a benefit? Our mentor M tells us, "Make your book more salable by showing how it will help your readers." And our other mentor, M, warns that if we don't pay attention we could get rejected because of Reason # 34 - You Don't Understand the Difference Between Features and Benefits!

So, for the record (and so we don't upset any agents) a feature is different from a bennie. (Which I never fact, the notion of having a "feature" section in my proposal never once came to my mind). So what is a feature? It's something your book has -- something you've added to the whole book like adding a good large dose of wonderful-tasting purple garlic to a stew (which, by the way, is also a benefit because garlic is good for lowering cholesterol). So there you have it: a feature is something your book has and a benefit is something your book does.

Your features may include (remember both non-fiction and fiction books have features):
- anecdotes
-chapter summaries
-interesting headings
-reflective quotations
-exploratory questions
-a blog readers can follow
-a romance (romance is the biggest selling if you can work one in, then yippee!)
-a sequel!

Benefits are a little different, and our mentor M tells us to put them into four categories:
1. Personal (this book will make you feel...blah, blah, blah)
2. Social (this book will help you get friends or keep friends or dump a nice way)
3. Proffesional (this book will help your profession)
4. Nobel (this book will change the world!)

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