Now that you know the type of product you are offering, let’s focus on differentiation of that product. Differentiation is a fancy word meaning how can the customer tell the difference between your product and someone else’s product. Let’s be honest: there are a TON of books out there. The good news is it’s never been easier to get your work into the hands of customer. The bad news: all the other authors know this too.
So why buy your book? Three reasons: quality, features style
I’m not talking about whether or not you’ll win a Giller or Hugo Award. Quality means ability to satisfy a customer’s expectations. Now if you’ve done your homework you already know what your customer expects. I believe story always trumps style (which is probably why I’ll never win a Giller); however, you still have to make sure the book looks professional. Watch formatting, page layout, and (for the sake of all that is holy) punctuation, spelling and grammar.
Again, if you’ve done your research you know what customers want to happen in the novel. Horror needs to be scary, romance needs to be romantic (which is not the same thing as erotic – that’s a different genre).
Always judge a book by its cover. Appearance matters, no matter what the self-help gurus tell you. Right or wrong, in business we learn that image = reality. If people believe something about you and your work it might as well be true. Bite the bullet and hire someone to design a professional looking cover for you. If the cover looks like crap people will assume the book is crap. If the author hasn’t taken the time and effort to make sure the cover art is good the customer will assume they do not care about the fine details. Right or wrong, in business we learn that image = reality.