The executive bolted through the airport and arrived at his gate, out of breath. Two minutes until the boarding process began. He looked around. There was an airport magazine store, and he stepped in to grab a quick bottle of water for the flight. As he waited in line behind four other passengers, he checked his watch again, pulled out his boarding pass, and glanced at the tall display of books by the register.
His mind was triggered. What would he read on the plane?
He scanned the options and picked one with a clean white cover. There were several others, but many of them were busy, and confusing.
This book was white with a dark blue title. It was also a different size than the rest, so it stood out. One minute passed, and the line inched forward. The executive held the water bottle in one hand, with his briefcase, and flipped the book open with the other.
He read the first paragraph of the introduction.
The page began with a poignant question – one he had never considered:
What’s your five-year plan?
The person in line in front of him was now at the register. The executive looked up at cashier, and the question stirred in his heart. What’s my five-year plan?
He thought of his demanding job, the client meeting in New York, his wife back at home, and the costs of college looking in the distance.
What’s my five-year plan?
His heart raced. It was a question he needed to consider. A question worth thinking about. A question that would mean the difference between success and failure.
He read the next paragraph. And it was this one that gave him hope.
“The good news is, it’s never too late to start. Your five-year plan can be developed starting today. You don’t have to worry, you don’t have to stress, and you don’t have to consider all the things you haven’t yet done. You can start creating your future today.”
He placed the book on the counter, swiped his credit card, and took a deep breath. Somehow, the paragraph gave him hope that he could tackle his biggest fears. He did not yet know who the author was or even what the book was entirely about but the paragraph in the introduction was enough to ignite him to buy. This is a book I need, he thought.
This is a scene that plays out all across the world in airports, stores, and even online.
People are busy. But when you can speak to their biggest fears, and appeal to their hopes and dreams, even the ones that are hidden and unspoken, you can change lives.
The best books, ad copy, websites, speeches and introductions are the ones that instantly engage.
Most of the time you only have minutes to do it.
The best introduction gives us hope that the words within the book will solve a problem.
Maybe it’s a problem the reader has been pondering at 3 AM, like money, or future planning. Maybe it’s a problem they’ve been pondering for a decade.
If you can deliver hope, you can deliver the future. Hope sells. Your book is a product that will help market and sell your business, and create a parallel revenue stream.
It’s for this reason specifically that our very first coaching call focuses on the book introduction.
During our first book Forensic call we kick off the book process with an author and their team. It is not uncommon to have a CEO, and several of his team members on the call including his chief marketing officer.
Or on other occasions we may have a big speaker, or a best-selling author who wants to transition his brand in a different direction.
Often times we will look at his or her previous line of books and see that the introductions were missing the mark. Why is this so critically important?
Because the introduction sells books.
Just like the first two minutes of a TED talk or speech, the book introduction instantly engages the heart. If it does not, you risk losing a buyer.
Here’s to your next great book!
From the book, Bestseller: How to Write Your Book and Create a Bestseller in 90 Days by Tammy Kling, CEO OnFire Books