James Patterson Masterclass.Com Lesson 19
“Bizarrely, there is a Harvard case study on me. And, I think one of the things that the professors found interesting ‘IS’ that they can write about me. The way they write about Coca-Cola as a brand. I don’t partially think of myself as a brand but they at least found that angle interesting” ~ James Patterson
This lesson is on marketing and selling your book, your words with words. I am hearing ‘hook’ here. Not the first page, that first sentence ‘Hook’. But the hook that is on the back cover or on the inside flap. Something that entices your buyer, to buy your novel. The tagline.
This is from an article on GalleyCat, “Now they teach author branding in schools” the Harvard case study on James Patterson as a brand.
“I’d never actually heard a product speak,” he recalls. “It was like listening to a can of Coca-Cola explain how it would like to be marketed.” That initial encounter inspired Deighton to write “Marketing James Patterson,” a case that uses the lens of a take-charge author, the publishing industry, and the business of book clubs to analyze the success of various modes of marketing.
“I see his success as a sublime integration of operations and marketing,” says Deighton, who taught the case to MBAs for the first time last fall in the elective course Consumer Marketing. “Patterson understands that if you want shelf space you need to publish a lot of books; that you need a production system with more than one author; and that you need to mind the brand.” ~ Harvard Business School Professor John Deighton
“A brand is a relationship between a product, or in this case ‘me,’ and the customers- just a relationship. “~ James Patterson
Hmmm, what? When you brand yourself. Not with a hot iron, but as a writer of a certain genre. You want to make a statement, meet expectations with your tag lines.
The Kardashians have branded themselves. So has Oprah. In my opinion, anyone who uses their own name uses it as their brand.
James Patterson’s tells us his reader’s ‘expectations’ are that when you pick up one of his books, the pages will almost turn themselves.
His novels are written as if he were telling a story, not a lot of colorful descriptions just movement of the character from start to the finish. So, let us imagine, if a reader of Mr. Patterson’s picked up one of his books and found instead, something that sounded like Faulkner, well, they would be disappointed. Similar if that reader wanted to read Faulkner and found a James Patterson novel. That tagline will give us an expectation of what we can expect inside the novel.
Taglines are to get the readers/buyers attention. They pull you into the story before you even crack open the binder or click on your e-reader.
Make your reader interested, then anxious to start reading, Delighted to have bought your novel. Taglines are the prelude to reading. A promise of things to come, possibly along with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, a comfy robe, a reading light, and that feeling that you were welcomed into the novel as you read those first sentences. This is where you fall into the story as you listen to James Patterson talking.
When you brand yourself. You can put that brand on the radio, in print, or on television promoting you and your book
“In terms of print, it’s the same thing. Here’s this space, in the newspaper, or this space or whatever the space is. That, I’m going to notice it and I am going to be motivated by it. It’s kind of that simple. There is an awful lot of stuff that shows up in the newspaper as your flipping gotta be where you notice it…what’s going to get my attention or sort of put it on my wavelength where I’m going, that sounds kind of cool I like mystery or whatever and this sounds like a really good one.”~ James Patterson
Use social Media
To get your readers to buy your novel you need to grab their attention. And you do that with your tag line. That tagline needs to be compelling.
Here are some James Patterson’s taglines you can find the books they belong to on his website HERE.
- Cross Kill: Along Came a Spider killer Gary Soneji has been dead for over ten years. Alex Cross watched him die. But today, Cross saw him gun down his partner. Is Soneji alive?
- Alex Cross, Run: Detective Alex Cross arrests renowned plastic surgeon Elijah Creem for sleeping with teenage girls. Now, his life ruined, Creem is out of jail, and he’s made sure that no one will recognize him—by giving himself a new face.
- Cat & Mouse: A killer named Mr. Smith begins his murder spree in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and then starts terrorizing Europe. Bodies are found “gutted.” At the same time Gary Soneji taunts Cross with murders in train stations.
- Kiss the Girls: Alex Cross matches wits with Casanova and The Gentlemen Caller. This time it is personal. Naomi Cross, twenty-two-year-old daughter of Cross’s deceased brother Aaron, is reported missing. She is a law student at Duke University. Cross goes to North Carolina, fearing the worst.
Most important about marketing, is the passion, that excitement gets communicated to the buyer. With one or two sentences, those taglines will get a bookstore to stock your book, and reviewers to blog about it, which will get the buyer to pick it up and buy it.
How to make a tagline? Start with a feeling. If you are writing a horror novel, you will want your reader to be frightened. What image do you want to convey. Comedy, make them laugh. Romance, well they want to feel the love. I hope your getting the idea.
Great advertising taglines:
- JUST DO IT – Nike
- Help I’ve fallen and I can’t get up…
- Got Milk California Milk Processor Board,
Taglines should describe the genera of the story you are writing. The purpose of your book. The theme. A tagline should make us feel. A tagline should help readers find your book using keywords
- In 1979, we discovered in space no one can hear you scream. In 1992, we will discover, on Earth, EVERYONE can hear you scream. ~Alien3
- Don’t go in the water.~ Jaws
This video lesson also has an assignment, a PDF Masterclass workbook, and a comments section.
For fun, I found a link for a tagline generator: