Sell sheets are a single page device that every company's marketing department creates to focus their marketing plan. It occurred to me a few years ago that sell sheets are a great tool for writers.
For writers, sell sheets are single page flyers/brochures that sell the audience on their book. I learned a few years back that sell sheets are my friend. I use them to focus my writing and my marketing efforts.
A sell sheet is helpful whether you are published or unpublished. It can be used to focus your plot and help with a sagging middle. It can be used to frame your synopsis and query letter. It can also be used to sell a published work-to readers and book buyers. Blogging? Use the material off your sell sheet. Chats? A sell sheet keeps your message focused. Announcing a new sale or a book release or contest? Use the information off your sell sheet to provide a uniform message.
Even better, a sell sheet can be helpful when making an editor/agent pitch. A proper has all the elements you need to give your sales pitch in any situation.
What do I put on my sell sheet?
To begin with I include the following four written elements:
1) A single sentence describing the story using 15 words or less. (Think NY Times blurb.)
2) A five sentence paragraph where the first sentence gives the background. The next three sentences give worsening conflict and the last sentence asks the story question. (Think back cover blurb.)
3) A Goal, Motivation and Conflict sentence for each of the main characters.
4) A short-less than 250 word- excerpt from the book.
Then I arrange them on the single sheet using eye catching graphics-book cover if you have it and fonts. Be sure to include: your title, subtitle if you have one, ISBN, retail price, number of pages, and availability. Finally-have them professionally printed on high-quality paper.
Taking the time to create a professional sell sheet can help to focus your work, your editorial pitch and your marketing plan into a cohesive message that helps the readers/editors/agents understand your unique story point of view.