Book Business

Create Magic with Words

Years ago, I took my five-year-old daughter to Toys R Us to meet “Barbie.” “Barbie” turned out to be a cute and charming teenager who, yes, looked like the classic blonde image of the doll. She wore a pretty pink gown.

I expected a lot more fanfare around this event. Like, maybe some cheap swag, a chance to win a Barbie doll or Barbie convertible, or at least a throne for Barbie. Maybe a stage with lots of pink. But she randomly stood in the store. I guess someone who worked there had a pretty teenage daughter willing to give up a Saturday afternoon to wear a pink dress and be nice to little girls and their mothers. I appreciate her efforts, will always remember the event, and hope she’s having a lovely life.

However, this lack of magic explains one of the reasons, to me, why Toys R Us is closing. My most recent trips there made me depressed as I viewed row after row of – stuff. Yet I’m sad to see them go.

When we write and market our books, we must not make this mistake. We can’t let our books languish on the shelf or not jump out at readers as they click through on the Internet. We must make our books spellbinding. By that I don’t mean let’s all write about the evils of witchcraft. I mean, our books must promise – and deliver –  magic.

Nonfiction is the selling of hope. Like Charles Revson, founder of Revlon Cosmetics, said, “We produce cosmetics in factories and sell hope in magazines.” To wit:

  • The marriage book will save your relationship
  • The dating book will help you find your mate
  • The parenting book will earn you a “Parent of the Year” medal
  • The book on guilt or grieving will ease your heart and mind
  • The memoir or biography will inspire and help you learn from another’s mistakes
  • The book on religion will help you understand God

Fiction is its own type of magic:

  • Escaping from boredom, routine, and monotony
  • Learning from the mistakes of characters
  • Thinking about a tough issue in a safe way, through pretend
  • Seeing “what if” without taking risks in real life
  • Falling in love along with a couple
  • Solving “who dunnit” before the big reveal

When you write to spellbind your readers, your books will become magical.

Your turn:

What is the most magical book you’ve read lately.

What other points do you think make a book magical?


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