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Novel Ways to Promote Your
For most authors of fiction, the very idea of promotion
is distasteful. Its not uncommon for novelists to
break out in hives or develop a nervous twitch when faced
with the reality of marketing their books.
As a published author, you know that you must promote
your book and you scurry to find your comfort zone.
Youll sign up with Amazon.com, of course, put up a
Web site and solicit reviews through the traditional mags
and sites. Those of you with more nerve will try to
arrange book signings and, uhmaybe attend a few
local book festivals. And mostly, youre met with
But there is so much more that you can do to draw
attention to your bookto let readers know that it
exists. Here are a few ideas that you may not have
thought of: (And they dont even require that you
develop the persona of a hard-selling hawker.)
Promote to organizations and sites related to a topic or
theme thats even loosely woven throughout your
For example, lets say that your novel features a
bird that makes occasional appearances in a few chapters.
This might be a crow that appears just before the wicked
woman is sighted, a hawk that, when spotted, gives the
main character courage or a canary that lives with the
protagonist and drives him crazy. Contact birding
organizations, bird rescue and rehab Web sites, sites for
bird fanciers, bird experts, sites dedicated to specific
bird types (canaries, wild birds, parakeets, exotic
birds, for example) and other authors who are promoting
books related to birds.
Of course, the same concept works for any subject; cats,
dogs, horses, an amputee, a diabetic, a transvestite,
twins, homelessness, the nightclub scene, Hollywood,
competition swimming, golf, car racing, carnivals,
regions (New Hampshire, Chicago, British Columbia,
Seattle, Kansas City), the college scene, gambling, the
What do you do once you find these organizations or
sites? After carefully studying the site, email the
operator or director personally and make some solid
suggestions for how your book would fit in to their
scheme of things. Ask for a book review. Offer to
contribute articles to the site. Request inclusion on
their Resource List or Recommended Reading page. Offer
your book as a prize in an upcoming contest. Suggest and
head up a contest that would help to promote your book.
Participate in appropriate message boards.
Many dedicated sites have message boards where
like-minded people can communicate, network and share.
Locate some of them through a Google search. Look for
message boards when you visit various sites. Using the
bird theme again, rather than just diving in and saying,
Buy my new novel. Theres a bird in chapter
three, adopt a strategy. Bring an interesting story
or some new information or facts to the forum. Say, for
example, I was surprised to find that Ventura was
among the top three California counties when it comes to
wild bird species. Is there anyway to find out what
species are involved in this count? Im particularly
interested in this subject because Ive just
published a novel wherein I feature an unusual species of
wild bird. Then sign your name and add the title of
your novel and ordering information.
Maybe your book is set in a small town in Montana. Find
regional sites and get involved in Montana, Idaho and
Wyoming-related message boards. Write, for example,
Is anyone familiar with Darby, Montana? Im
the author of a brand new suspense novel set in this
historic town. Read excerpts at (your Web site
address). And then include ordering information.
Offer up some interesting trivia. Ask what others know
about this place. Your main objective in participating in
targeted message boards is to make friends, build a
rapport and get exposure for your novel.
Solicit reviews in magazines that have an element related
to an obvious or an obscure aspect of your novel.
You have probably contacted magazines and newsletters
that typically review novels, but have you thought of
approaching publications related to a lesser, but
interesting aspect of your novel? Maybe your story
includes a main character with Multiple Sclerosis. Seek
out magazines and newsletters focusing on MS and those
with an overcoming-disabilities-aspect. Perhaps yours is
an ethnic novel. Solicit reviews in appropriate ethnic
publications. Of course, if it has that bird in it, go
after magazines the bird lovers read. And dont
forget to take advantage of any regional aspect. There
are a growing number of regional magazines these days. I
located fifteen magazines for Ohio in just a few minutes
time and about the same number for Texas.
How do you find specifically focused publications? Do a
Google search. Use Literary Market Place and
Writers Market and thumb through Gales Directory of
Publications and Broadcast Media. (All of these volumes
are available in the reference section of your local
Contact bookstores that specialize in a topic or theme
present in your novel.
I located ten bookstores specializing in bird or pet
books in three minutes through a Google search. There are
also bookstores dedicated to books on cooking and foods,
cats, mystery, crime, fantasy/horror/science fiction,
nature, economics and spiritual/religion.
Approach specialty stores. You might convince
some pet store owners to carry your novel that includes
birds, a cat or a seeing-eye dog, for example. If your
book has a womens fashion element, consider
designing a point of purchase display for willing
managers of small clothing stores. If your book does well
locally, you can use your success to entice stores in
other cities to carry it. Maybe one of your characters
thrives on daily espressos or there are a lot of scenes
occurring in a coffee house. You know the next
stepsolicit space for your novel in Starbucks and
the many copycat coffee shops sprouting up everywhere
throughout the U.S.
Take advantage of your memberships and status.
Are you a college graduate? Send news of your book to
your college alumni magazine. The editors are always
hungry for information about successful alumni. If you
dont belong to Sams Club, Costco or other
such membership-oriented stores, sign up today! These
mega-stores love to feature special members achieving
interesting things in their widely circulated
Build promotion into your novel.
If you are only in the idea stage of writing your novel,
you are in luck because Im going to give you the
key to promotional success. Write a nonfiction hook into
your story. How? Involve the American Diabetes
Association, the American Heart Association or the
National Mental Health Association by developing a
character with diabetes, a heart condition or a mental
illness, for example. Give a character a Harley, a tattoo
or send him cruising on the Princess Line. Make sure that
you have permission to use the name of the company or
organization in your story. And, with the right angle and
approach, you might be able to get them to participate in
promoting your book. At the least, they might give you a
Tap into whats hotsomething thats in
the news or an emerging trend, for example. Is anyone
involving their characters in a life-threatening storm?
What about writing a story set during an extreme heat
spell? More and more people are developing enjoyable and
satisfying online relationshipswomen are creating
friendships and some couples are even getting married. Is
this an intriguing trend that might entice readers to
purchase your novel?
Whatever your topic or thread of a topic which
youve woven through your book, you can find
organizations, publications and/or Web sites to support
it. Tap into these resources to broaden the audience for
your fantastic, soon-to-be successful novel.
Patricia Fry is a full-time writer and the
author of 24 books. If you found this article helpful,
you will LOVE her latest book, The Right Way to Write,
Publish and Sell Your Book.
www.matilijapress.com/rightway.html. Visit her
informative publishing blog at www.matilijapress.com/publishingblog.
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