Why you need a PFS for your book

dog and thought bubble

Prior to being published by Booktrope I Indie published, so you’d think that having to dip back into the world of Independent publishing wouldn’t be such a hard task. Wrong! The industry has moved on, and so have I.

Booktrope was based on team publishing, and one incredibly valuable member of my team was my Book Manager. No, she did not rush around marketing my book for me, but what she did do is scour the internet for every possible marketing opportunity. She lined up author interviews, ensured my editor and I were keeping to our deadlines, and constantly nagged me about my PFS. My what? “Have you added that to your PFS?” My What?

She must have told me a thousand times what those initials PFS meant, but it wasn’t until I had to republish that I realised how important they were. I desperately needed my PFS!

PFS = Publication Fact Sheet

What do I put in my book’s PFS?

The first and most obvious thing is your book’s blurb. The blurb is that enticing five hundred words or so that you get to add to Amazon under ‘product description’. The catch is that different platforms, and retailers, require the blurb to be of varying lengths. One size does not fit all. Trust me, I’ve rushed around Kindle promotion sites while working to a deadline only to find that six different websites require six different length blurbs. You try cutting fifteen words out of a blurb in a hurry without pulling your hair out!

The answer is to have several blurbs of varying lengths already written and waiting on your PFS. Okay, they may not fit exact requirements, but to have a two hundred word blurb ready is far better than having ONLY a five hundred word blurb and then being instructed to lose half of it.

elevator

The next most important thing is your book’s one line ‘Elevator Pitch’. This is that catchy phrase that you get to pitch to an agent while going up one floor in the elevator. Yes, I know, that isn’t very long at all. This snappy little phrase is what you’re going to say every time anyone asks what your book is about. Learn it by heart. It’s gold.

Writing your elevator pitch is going to take far, far longer to think up than it ever will to say it. Brainstorm with your friends, test it on strangers and hone the gist of your story down to its bare bones.

Here’s what my Book Manager and I came up with for Visiting Lilly.

“Detective Inspector Jake Talbot investigates a romance that crosses the boundaries of time.”

While Visiting Lilly was in production I attended a writers’ conference and threw this phrase out like confetti. It drew a lot of attention, which resulted in people being happy to accept my business card with a link to my website. Invaluable for marketing and book promotion.

On your PFS you’ll also add:

  • Your book’s GENRE
  • Potential AUDIENCE – who will enjoy reading your book?
  • Kindle CATEGORY – e.g mystery and thriller – which is dealt with by using BISAC codes – start by choosing a Subject Heading such as FICTION, then click through to select specific code related to your book. E.g. Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple stories might come under FIC022100    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Amateur Sleuth
  • Becoming familiar with BISAC codes makes it much easier when uploading your book to Kindle and you’re asked to choose two categories.
  • TAG words – Kindle will also ask you for seven tags. You can use short two or three word phrases. Be specific. E.g. military espionage. Don’t add tags such as ‘a thrilling read’ because it’s unprofessional and nobody will believe you.

Once your book is published you’ll continue to add all kinds of further information to your PFS.

  • Your book’s ISBN and ASIN – At some point you WILL be asked for these.
  • LINKS to every sales platform. E.g. Amazon, Nook, iBooks – essential for doing author interviews, tweets etc.
  • A list of EXCERPTS from your book, some short, some long, to use in promotions.
  • A copy of your best REVIEWS, who wrote them and on which platform they wrote them – always quote the source of any review, readers need to be able to go back and check that they truly exist.

Now you understand how important all of this information is when launching a book. Publication Fact Sheet. Start making your PFS while writing your book, build on it, don’t lose it! Those three precious letters, PFS, will end up making your life a whole lot easier.

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