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Sell the sizzle not the sausage

Starting with the reader and the experience of reading, rather than the author or the book, is the major change that Opening the Book has introduced into promotion.

Advertisers know that the best way to sell a product is to persuade customers to imagine themselves enjoying that experience. Adverts for sausages don't list the meat content (and certainly not the fat content). Instead they conjure up the sound of sausages sizzling in the pan, the comfort of traditional cooking as everyone comes into the warm kitchen, out of the rain, safely home from school or work....

If you want to make reading attractive you will need to do the same thing. Start from the reading experience. What will the books do for the reader? What kind of experience do they offer? Don't waste all your planning time on discussing the sausages - deciding whether to have this book or that one - when you should be selling the sizzle. Focusing on the end result, rather than the object itself, will give more relevance to the potential user.

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 Audience development

Related Resources

Putting the reader first

The literature world concentrates mainly on writing and publishing. This is true of both the commercial sector and the arts funding sector. Opening the Book's unique contribution has been to introduce the concept of intervening at the point of consumption.

Making the reader visible

Reading is something we do by ourselves in private. There are more readers than there are practitioners of any other art form but because reading is largely an individual and domestic habit, this is often overlooked.

Respecting other people's reading experience

What makes us think that the reader of romances is probably deeply unhappy with no social life?

A reader-centred approach to quality

Reader development takes an inclusive approach to whatever people are reading. We don’t need to make value judgments about the 'quality' of books as we shift the focus to the quality of the reading experience.