Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Side Trip: How to Write a Non-Fiction Book Proposal – Part 4

List 5 Benefits your book has.

Again, like Features, you may have more than five, but you should have at least five.

Benefits are what your reader/book-buyer will gain by buying and reading your book. Benefits differ from Features, but they are linked together.

In Writing Copy for Dummies (Wiley, 2005, pg. 21), author Jonathan Kranz describes Benefits this way:

Benefits are what the product or service does for the owner or user. They are, therefore, much more important than features because they include a what’s-in-it-for-me motivation. They’re active qualities and are almost always verbs, adverbs, or verbal phrases. They save people time and money, protect them from foul weather, alert them to danger, make them look younger and sexier, and so on. You can say that the pencil gives you the following benefits:

  • Its bold color makes it easy to find on a cluttered desktop.
  • Its ridged shape prevents it from rolling off your desk.
  • Its built-in eraser helps you correct mistakes in a flash.

You may notice that…the pencil’s benefits are intimately related to its features. In fact, I took each feature and uncovered its value—what the pencil does for people that makes it worth buying…

…transforming features into benefits is easy. For any given feature, ask, ‘What does this do for my customer?’ The answer is the benefit. For example, consider the call-waiting feature on your phone. What does it do for you? It alerts you to incoming calls, even when you’re on the line with someone else. The benefit: You never miss a phone call.”

In her book, The Mom Inventors Handbook (McGrawhill, 2005, $16.95, pg. 15), Tamara Monosoff give this information about a product’s benefits:

“List your product’s benefits. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a “benefit” is “something that promotes or enhances well-being; an advantage.” In other words, what does this product solve? How can it help someone in his or her daily life? The TP [toilet paper] Saver™ packaging states the following benefits:

  • Prevents your child or pet from unrolling toilet paper
  • Reduces the risk of paper ingestion
  • Saves paper, money, and the environment

I took the five Features I listed for my book, Dear America, and came up with these five Benefits:

  1. Get ten helpful tips to help you or a friend through the loss of a loved one.
  2. Understand or explain the story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation in five easy steps.
  3. When you’re ready to accept Christ, here are words you can follow as an example.
  4. Discover answers to some of your questions about Muslims, their faith, and how it is different from Christianity.
  5. Learn ten tips to help you start reading and understanding the Bible.

Your Benefits will link in to the first of the “3 Big Questions” we discussed earlier: What need does your book fill, what problem does it solve, or what desirable thing does it help your reader obtain?

What Benefits does your book or proposed book have? List them.

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