“Promoting Fiction: It Isn’t Easy” An Article by Sandra Beckwith

I’m privileged to have as a guest-blogger, Sandra Beckwith.  Sandra is a former publicist who shares her award-winning expertise with others as the author of two publicity how-to books, as a book publicity e-course instructor, and as a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences. Her book publicity classes and free book publicity e-zine help authors learn how to be their own book publicist. Sign up for her free Build Book Buzz e-zine at www.buildbookbuzz.com.

In today’s article, Sandra addresses the reality of promoting works of fiction.  I hope you enjoy her insight, and please be sure to come back to my website for future articles from Sandra with the “inside scoop” on book promotion.

Promoting Fiction: It Isn’t Easy

by

Sandra Beckwith

There’s no question that it’s harder to publicize and promote fiction than nonfiction – that’s why many book publicists won’t accept novelists as clients. But whether we write fiction or nonfiction, we have to make the effort to get the word out about our books. We have a responsibility to the people who need the information we’re offering to let them know our book is available.

What are you doing now to promote your book? Maybe you’ve got a Facebook fan page for it, maybe you’re tweeting to a good-sized following on Twitter, maybe you’re trying to cross-promote with other authors. There’s an effective tactic for every type of book and author personality – the challenge is finding what’s effective for your target audience and your own skills. In coming months, I’ll offer advice on how to promote your book to the people who are most likely to buy it. To get started, I’d like to offer some thoughts on the basics that often get overlooked. They will help you focus on what counts.

  • Get as specific as you can about your target audience. Many of my “Book Publicity 101” students tell me that their target audience is “all women between 18 and 65.” In an ideal world, that would be true. The reality is that we can – and need to – narrow that down further so that we have a much better chance of getting the book title in front of the people who are truly most likely to buy it. (Here are tips on my blog on how to do that.)
  • Think beyond book reviews. They’re great and we all love them, but if we limit our publicity efforts to getting reviews, we’re not letting our books enjoy their maximum promotion potential. Work to get your book title into conventional and online media outlets and into blogs on an ongoing basis. We’ll discuss how in coming months.
  • Promote your book to your “warmest” markets first. Then move outward. A “warm” market is one that already knows and likes you or is most likely to help you spread the word about your book. For most authors, the warmest markets are friends and family, their e-mail lists, Facebook friends and Twitter followers, and the memberships of organizations they belong to. It also includes the local media.
  • Do what’s best for your book, not someone else’s. Your target audience might not see tweets – yours or anyone else’s – so don’t use Twitter just because “everyone else is.” Blogging might be a better fit for you than podcasting. Some people enjoy public speaking, many more don’t. The point is, use the tactics that you can execute and that will help you get your book title in front of the right people.

I’d like to hear from you about the challenges you face when promoting and publicizing your fiction books, or about topics you’d like to learn more about here. Please send me a note at sb@buildbookbuzz.com. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

About Mike Angley

Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. In his last assignment, he was Commander of OSI Region 8 with responsibility for all of Air Force Space Command. He’s fond of saying, “If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, I had a dog in the fight!”
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4 thoughts on ““Promoting Fiction: It Isn’t Easy” An Article by Sandra Beckwith

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention "Promoting Fiction: It Isn't Easy" An Article by Sandra Beckwith | Mike Angley -- Topsy.com

  2. Wonderful advice. I am a fiction writer. I studied the methods of promoting non-fiction writers and would like to apply it to fiction. Non fiction writers are entrepreneurs by nature. Fiction writers like isolation, need isolation. On the other hand fiction is a major part of our culture. Without good and innovative fiction writing theatre, TV, movies and the formation of our youth will suffer. Writers have to support each other. Marketing syphons off creativity in the fiction writer, but it has to be done. I think what you are doing is great. I hope it inspires a lot of fiction writers to leave posts in each others websites.
    Sonia Meyer
    Dosha, flight of the Russian Gypsies
    Publication date: November 1

    • Thanks, Sonia. I know exactly what you mean about fiction writers preferring to be left alone! For that reason, you not only need to be selective about the promotion tactics that will take you the farthest, you also have to pick those that you’re comfortable implementing. For example, while public speaking is a great option for some authors, others shudder at the thought of it! The tools & tactics you select need to be a good fit for your personality, too.

      Best of luck with your writing!

      Sandra Beckwith
      http://www.buildbookbuzz.com

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