The age of all-pervasive marketing is upon us. Like me, I am sure that sometimes you think that all of this so-called "social networking" is just a thinly veiled disguise for someone reaching into our pocket to grab our wallets. No question, with the advent of the 24/7 digital universe, there are incredible opportunities out there for authors to bring their work to audiences that simply did not exist 5 years ago.
However, we sometimes forget the basics of good salesmanship when it comes to building the elements of a non-fiction book that will appeal to potential buyers. When we get past the appealing cover, the catchy title and the high-priced promotion campaign, what does our potential reader/buyer look for to influence their purchasing decision?
The Table of Contents is very high on the list of an author's selling opportunities. That may sound strange to some, only because it is often overlooked as a chance to persuade browsers (that's people browsers, not digital ones) about the benefits of reading the book. We have all seen Tables of Contents that simply repeat the chapter titles and page numbers in a long list, but have you noticed the ones that offer the reader more information? The idea is to note the chapter name and then add a sentence or two of description, or a few bullet points so that the reader can actually see what you offer? Keep it simple but make it appealing so that someone browsing it will want to know more.
In addition, most of the e-book platforms now allow a potential buyer to browse the Table of Contents and maybe a sample chapter. Make your Table of Contents do some selling work for you and increase your sales as a result.