Neuromarketing is a fascinating concept that reaches beyond consumer behavior into the subconscious processing taking place within the consumer’s brain—potentially a reader’s brain while they are assessing whether to purchase your books. You may find it intriguing that researchers have determined that a full 90% of a brand’s information/advertising is processed subconsciously. (Agarwal, S., 2015) This means that despite our best efforts to appeal to a reader on a conscious level, whether they purchase your book depends on their subconscious.


Publishers may use focus groups to determine whether book covers and content are appealing, relying on self-reporting measures such as questionnaires and interviews. But neural measures are better predictors of consumer behavior than those techniques because they capture more of the motivation behind a consumer’s acceptance or decline of a particular product’s marketing strategy—in other words, whether your website or Internet presence is enough to make them purchase your book or move on without purchasing.

Confederate Infantry

Image Credit: freeimages

Neuroscience has discovered that people react to visual stimuli 50 times faster than audio (Abinanti, L., 2017) and photography and motion video continue to dominate the best marketing campaigns. This means when a visitor enters your website, the first thing that will affect their decision are your book trailers, other videos and pictures—even before they have read the first sentence in your description. Authors depend heavily on their book covers for visual stimuli, but it might be time to rethink that and search for images that convey the era, the backdrop and locales and even the action that your book portrays. A slide show or interspersing those images within your book’s website description might be the tipping point in whether purchases occur.


Even in Facebook’s recommendations to businesses in creating the most effective ads, they acknowledge that the images—pictures and photographs—will be the first thing people will see when they come across an ad or post. Further, Facebook states that carousel ads—ads with more than one image that move from one to the other—consistently provide the best results for advertisers. With your posts, sharing a link to YouTube is not as effective as uploading the video into Facebook; the latter will increase the number of viewers by more than 50%.

Poison Apple

Image Credit: freeimages

The reptilian brain—the part of the brain that makes up the bulk of subconscious decision making—is visual, it likes contrast and it is triggered by emotion. This means that images used in marketing, promotional and advertising efforts are most effective when they have a tendency to jump out at the viewer; particularly when the colors and images contrast with the surrounding screen and they pull on a particular emotion. (Renvoise, P. et al, 2002)


A perfect example is Budweiser’s Puppy Love campaign, which focuses on retriever puppies to play on viewer emotions. (Budweiser, 2014)

Budweiser’s Twitter feed and Facebook page currently show videos ranging from triumphing in the face of adversity to #OnlyTheBrave: and , using video and visual stimuli to evoke emotion.


It’s time to think outside the box. What emotions do you want your ideal reader to experience while reading your book? What images would evoke those emotions? Instead of one book trailer, can you create a series in which each pulls on a particular emotion?


Using Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind as an example, the videos could include:


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  1. Romance—Scarlett and Ashley, Scarlett and Rhett Butler
  2. War—from Gettysburg to Atlanta or Sherman’s March to the Sea
  3. Loss—Scarlett returning home to Tara to find it ransacked and the land and crops almost completely destroyed
  4. Survival—whether it’s Scarlett’s journey from Atlanta to Tara, hiding under the bridge as soldiers cross overhead, or vowing never to be hungry again


Chances are if you’ve ever read the book, your mind envisioned each of these scenes as you read this. What emotions did they evoke? Now how did you tap into those same emotions in your own writing? How can you depict those emotions in photographs or video?





Abinanti, L. (2017, February 14) Improve Your Marketing Communications with Insights From Neuromarketing. Retrieved from


Agarwal, S. et al (2016, December) Neuromarketing and consumer neuroscience: current understanding and the way forward. Retrieved from


Facebook (no date) Choosing Your Ad Images. Retrieved from


Renvoise, P. & Morin, C. (2007, October 16) Neuromarketing. Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.


p.m.terrell is the internationally acclaimed, award-winning author of more than 21 books, and the founder of both The Novel Business and Book ‘Em North Carolina’s Writers Conference and Book Fair. If you don’t have the time to market or you need business advice, check out our Services page. We’re happy to do it for you! All our services are guaranteed satisfaction.