Where do you reach your readers? Most authors (as I’ve mentioned before) appear in the same places other authors do and make the same approaches they make – heavily targeting their genre. Naturally, you should make yourself and your book visible at genre reading groups live and online, as well as with as many blogs as you can find that focus on your genre … but your readers are many, many other places too.
In order to explain why this is necessary and why it works, here’s a little bit of information about marketing in general. It’s the RULE OF THREE. A prospective book buyer should see and/or hear your name or the name of your book at least three times and in at least three different places. Yes, you’ve contacted three genre book clubs and you’ve probably done a guest blog or promotional blog on at least three different genre-based blogs but those only count as one because not only are the same people seeing those blogs and are part of those book clubs and groups … but also remember, all the other authors writing in your genre are also present there so it’s sort of like walking into a crowd of shouting competitors. Be there, shout a little louder, but remember, it still only counts as one of your important three exposures.
So where do you find those other two (and preferably more) important exposures?
There are ways!
- Dig deeper into your specific book for the unique hooks and elements inside your story
- Dig deeper into the demographic of your genre reader
- Dig deeper into your own neighborhood
Let’s take these cool directions and carefully scrutinize them.
Let’s say you’ve written a romance with an historical twist. You may have lighthouses as a focus of your story, or it may take place during the Revolutionary War or perhaps the story unfolds in the 1960’s. In addition to approaching romance readers where everyone else approaches them, you may want to look into lighthouse bloggers or blogs and groups that raise funds to preserve and restore lighthouses. There are hundreds of online groups who target Revolutionary War enthusiasts, antique collectors from the era or travelers who love visiting the battle locations. They too have blogs and are involved in groups specific to their interests. If your book is historic in the more recent years, like the 50’s 60’s or 70’s, again there are groups, bloggers and websites that focus solely on that nostalgic interest.
How do you approach these bloggers and groups? Easy. You simply contact the bloggers, tell them about your book and the research you put into it within their specific interest and ask if they’d be willing to let you guest blog. It’s that simple. When you locate groups on Yahoo groups that focus on this specific hook in your book, you simply join the group. There you would participate in the conversations, share what you know of the historic era and make friends … but one thing you shouldn’t do is simply post again and again that you have a book to sell. This is MARKETING, which is all about creating awareness about your book. Marketing is not promotion and it’s not hard sell, it’s AWARENESS. So go on and join, be part of the community and contribute, make friends and … make sure that your email tag ALWAYS has the title of your book, a brief 25 word blurb about it and the buy link. Oh, and remember, if this is a specific subject you love to write about, you’ve just tapped into a wealth of research information!
Unique hooks exist in every book, no matter the genre. All you have to do is find them and be aware of them so that you can effectively use them to extend your audience. Maybe your book is a murder mystery where the detective has a coffee addiction, or loves expensive cigars, or is crazy about ballroom dancing. As long as these unique elements are a strong part of your manuscript, you can seek out coffee lovers, cigar aficionados and ballroom dancing enthusiasts because basically, your book will interest them.
The demographic is the specific identifying factors about a targeted group. What is the primary demographic of your book? Women? Men? Children? Highly professional people? Middle class people? Are they 25? Over 50? Between 10 and 15?
All these specifics for your demographic are important and remember, what you assume to be your demographic isn’t necessarily true. For example, more woman over 50 read Young Adult books than young adults. Do a little research before assuming anything about your target reader demographic.
Is your book a romance? Military Mystery? Cozy Mystery? Christian? Erotica? Make a list of everything you know your book to be then think hard about who the demographic really is.
Now … where are those demographics? If you’re promoting your YA specifically to young adults and through YA blogs, bloggers and reviewers, you may want to spread your visibility further. You may want to query reviewers and bloggers who focus on older women no matter the subject. Remember, we’re not talking about the places other authors are marketing. If you’re pushing your military mystery toward men, you may want to think deeper and grab some exposure with groups of military wives or military enthusiasts who have blogs that focus on weapons or strategies with commentary. If your Christian romance is targeted to only Christian women you are limiting yourself, promote the book to women in general within woman groups that have some connection with your unique hooks.
If your target is women, never forget … we’re everywhere. We shop in grocery stores, go to the cleaner’s, buy shoes, love cosmetics and jewelry. Men too are all over the place based on their interests. There is no reason why an author writing fiction or non-fiction shouldn’t take this expanded demographic approach and use their unique hooks to connect with much broader target groups. Write to the targeted blogger or website and simply tell them about your book, then ask them if you can write a guest blog or monthly column (if it’s a website) that will subtly promote your book with a picture of the cover and the link. You will be amazed how many of these bloggers and website owners will respond positively. This helps them too! It regularly updates their blog or website, and it brings more activity to their business or blog content. It’s a win/win.
Whatever your book is about, whatever the genre and whatever the specific hooks, you can easily find local groups starving for an interesting topic for their next meeting.
There are local gardening clubs, local women’s clubs, knitting, quilting, and bird lovers clubs. There are local Rotary Clubs, nursing and dental assistant groups, church, community and city women’s and men’s auxiliary clubs. There are horse racing clubs, antique lovers clubs and music lovers clubs. These groups are everywhere, meeting someplace every single night of the week and all within five miles of your house. If you haven’t started speaking yet about your book, it’s time to take the leap. You approach these groups the same way you do everything as a writer … you query. Introduce yourself, tell them you are a local author, tell them about your book and make sure to touch on the unique part of your story that will connect with the group’s membership. Then you simply ask if you can speak at one of their meetings. Offer them a book signing after the speech. Most of these groups are bored to tears with the same kinds of meetings and you might just be the speaker they’re looking for. Be creative with your search, use your unique hooks and story elements to spice up your query, and remember to take into consideration your broad demographic target.
Oh, and one other thing about these approaches … I will warn you … it’s very unlikely you’ll find even one other author trying to get your prospective book buyer’s attention or money. You’ll have these audiences all to yourself!Next week we’ll be talking about seriously dissecting your own manuscript to find even more new prospective readers. See you then!
FREE Ten Tools for Author Success Handbook available for download at The Author Success Coach website.