#AtoZChallenge: U is for Unique Selling Point

For the A-Z challenge, I am posting writing and editing tips to help you improve and enhance your writing.

U is for Unique Selling Point

usp

There are literally thousands of books out there, all vying for attention. Whether you’re sending your manuscript into the self-publishing market or to an agent or publisher, you need to make it stand out. So how do you do that?

Of course the writing has to be amazing, and your manuscript has to have been edited and proofread to within an inch of its life. If you’re self-publishing then the cover needs to be eye-catching and inviting. But what else can put your work above all the others?

This is really something that you need to think about BEFORE you write that novel. Make sure you are writing something new, something exciting, something that sets you apart – have in mind your unique selling point.

What is different about your book? Why should anyone want to pick it up? What does it have that no one else has?

Read the books that yours will be competing with – what does yours have that they don’t? This is at the heart of your USP. Try to condense that into one sentence. When agents are reading the six hundredth query letter they’ve had that week, or a reader is browsing Amazon for a new book, they want to know, quickly, what your book can give them. They need to know in one or two sentences. This is your chance to grab them.

It’s horribly competitive out there – and it’s very hard work. But having a unique selling point will give your book an edge.

Does your novel have a great USP? Share it by leaving a comment below.

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13 comments

  1. Love this post, I think this is where I am heading with my Friday Five challenge I’m launching in May taking just 5 minutes to go online and choose to buy or pass on a book from a quick look at the cover, quick scan of the book bio and a quick look at a couple of reviews. It’s all many buyers will give to choosing a book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post.
    I agree that publishing is competitive because of the number of people involved, but I’m not aiming to be an overnight success. I’m more concerned about the process of writing, learning more about the craft, meeting other writers and readers, and reading.
    I don’t know how or even if I’m unique, because we all are. Every single novel is unique. The difference is more related to personal tastes than quality. There are great books I just can’t read (eg. I have a very hard time reading fantasy. It’s just not for me). I’ve also read some books that needed editing and thought, ‘this is great’, because the topic and/or writing style appealed to me.
    In any case it’s hard to pin point why some books are popular and others aren’t. Think of 50 shades, for example… I read them all because I wanted to know what millions were reading, and I still can’t figure out why…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t get me started on 50 Shades… I do see your point, but I think that self-publishing has a (at times justifiably) bad reputation because of things like poor or no editing and because there isn’t any quality control and I do really believe that you have the best chance if you have something new or different to offer. For example, your book’s USP is that it’s a sequel to a well-loved book. That’s pretty different, and rather brave too.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I agree with Luccia in that there seems to be a book for everyone. I am a devoted Pat Conroy reader with his poetic descriptions and heart for the things he writes, but my daughter tried South of Broad, and said she wanted him to get on with the story. Not a detail reader. Do you think once the book is written and the edit is taking place, that then you think about who may want to read this?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think I need to tell my stories the only way I can or want to, but aiming to do so as originally and well as possible. I don’t think explicitly about the reader as I write, but I do think the final product should be well edited out of respect for readers. If they don’t like the story, characters, or the way it’s written, it’s obviously not for them. I’m not changing that, although I do take my beta readers’ opinions seriously, but ultimately it’s my decision, for better commercially or worse! Each book has its readers. The problem, especially for indie authors is reaching them!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks so much for your comments ladies, this is such an interesting topic. I think that last point is a massive issue for indie writers – there are so many books to chose from, so many writers that it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach readers. And while I agree that not everyone likes the same types of book, if your book doesn’t stand out then they’ll never be able to give it a chance.

        Liked by 1 person

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