Today, we are going to take a look at co-authors K.F Breene and Shannon Mayer’s marketing strategies, so you can learn how to do the same.
What you can learn from them:
- How to hook your audience through a bold claim
- How to back up your bold claim
- How to target the right audience through the cover
- The compounding effect of marketing strategies
- And More
“…Harry Potter meets the Hunger Games…” is a bold claim to start the description with, yet coming from a bestselling author, the statement has credence.
“You Don’t Choose The Academy. The Academy Chooses You.” Anyone who has read Harry Potter will recognize this premise.
With how famous Harry Potter and the Hunger Games are, the description targets a broad niche.
As someone who enjoyed the Hunger Games and who has reread Harry Potter several times, I cannot deny this description picked on my curiosity.
Let’s expand the description.
What follows lays the conflict that triggers the story “…left us a death sentence. In an invitation.” An invitation is often a good thing, but a death sentence is not. Quite the clever subversion of expectations that packs dread and intrigue.
The description invites you to witness the deadly trials that await the protagonist.
As promised, what follows is a lot like the Hunger Games premise, but it also adds the precedent of her brother’s death. The academy invited him too, and he died there.
This conflict goes way back, and it’s personal. The protagonist doesn’t want to lose another brother.
Another key difference is how, instead of the sister taking her brother’s place publicly like Katniss Everdeen, she instead has to disguise herself as a boy. The twist is obviously going to be a challenge throughout the book, adding another unique layer to the story.
Using elements from a winning formula makes sense, but you don’t want it to be identical. Combining elements from two sources instead of grabbing them from one helps, but you need to add your personal touch.
The idea here is to strike a balance where the story is similar enough to the winning formula but unique enough that it avoids the sensation of “There is nothing new here; I have already read this story, I rather read the original to relive the nostalgia”.
Quick Takeaway: A bold claim backed by a reputable source is a good opener. Use successful work as a reference but make your work unique.
The Cover (Book One)
“Gorgeous” and “vibrant” are the first words that come to mind.
Easy to look at and understand, shiny, beautiful, and easy to read text. It also shares a design that appeals to the young adult audience and has this fantasy and magic vibe that fits what it’s about. We could say the cover speaks to the right audience.
Not to mention that it’s easy to draw a connection between “culling trials” and the big, menacing, magical-looking knife.
By the way, below, you can see captures taken from lists within the sub-genres of this book. Take a look and compare:
“They are different yet similar enough. YA books also tend to have a cover that would serve as decor after reading them. Also, do you notice the tendency to have an artifact or symbol at the front of a simple background? Do you notice the vibrant colors? Browse around yourself and get a feel of the patterns.
Quick takeaway: Communicate your genre through the cover.
Homework: Think about the genre and age group your book targets, then study the covers of other books that target the same group to find the pattern. Use that to learn how to communicate the genre through your book cover.
|From the reader’s perspective, there is no guarantee that “this is Harry Potter meets The hunger games” isn’t false advertisement. Others might fear it could be a poor-quality imitation.
Here is where editorial reviews come to save the day.
“… is a delightfully brilliant read. Combine J.K Rowling with Suzanne Collings and you get Breene and Mayer.”
“… a pulse-pounding ride along the edge of a knife in this binge-worthy tribute to Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen”.
Both reviews assure that the promise is honest and that the quality is good. Reviews from authority figures in the writing industry are the cherry on top. Still you can get similar results through readers’ reviews.
Quick takeaway: Reviews are how you back up any bold claim. It’s the difference between “The writer is just trying to sell me something” vs “Oh! It’s true and people are loving it!”
Going further down, readers will find the book is part of a six books series. The six books rank among the top 5000s in the Kindle Store.
With covers and descriptions that maintain a consistent style, it looks like the authors know what they are doing or they are well-advised.
Now, let’s click on book 2 to see how it’s doing…
Same formula, same cover style, and same description opener followed by what is happening in this book specifically. Different but similar. Unique but consistent. This is how you turn your series into a brand.
As of April 1st of 2022, it was # 3709 in Kindle Store!
My only criticism is that they didn’t include a link to their newsletter at the beginning of the book for people to find.
An in-book newsletter funnel could have helped them go bigger, but they had many other things going on for them. The consistent and beautiful covers, the description, and the editorial reviews.
All of these elements work in synergy to generate a compounding marketing effect:
- A good cover attracts people who then check the description.
- The description makes readers curious, motivating them to scroll down and find the editorial reviews.
- The editorial reviews give credence to what the description promised.
- The brand consistency motivates readers to stick with the saga from beginning to end…
A good marketing strategy is one where all of its elements work in tandem in a coherent manner. The result of that is a compounding effect.
I hope this case study gave you a better idea of how to design a book that sells and how a fine-tuned series can amplify the marketing effort. Stay tuned for more case studies.
See you next time,