Title: The Secrets To Marketing Fiction

Word Count:
1281

Summary:
When my first book (The Cliffhanger) was published nearly seven years ago, I had high hopes of its success. I mean I am, after all, a PR person ? so how hard could it be to market fiction? Granted, up till that point I hadn’t taken on a lot of fiction ? well, to be honest I hadn’t taken any fiction. Fiction is tough and everyone knows it. But now I was going to get my chance, and what better way to start than on my own book? When The Cliffhanger hit the #1 spot on Amazon it w…

Keywords:
books, book promotion, writing, book publicity, book marketing, book trailers

Article Body:
When my first book (The Cliffhanger) was published nearly seven years ago, I had high hopes of its success. I mean I am, after all, a PR person ? so how hard could it be to market fiction? Granted, up till that point I hadn’t taken on a lot of fiction ? well, to be honest I hadn’t taken any fiction. Fiction is tough and everyone knows it. But now I was going to get my chance, and what better way to start than on my own book? When The Cliffhanger hit the #1 spot on Amazon it was no accident, it was a creative push that got it to #1 and ironically, the pitch that prompted this Amazon soar had nothing to do with the book. Curious? Then read on.

When I was first pushing The Cliffhanger I did all the things a good fiction author is supposed to do. I sent out review copies, created a stunning press release, scheduled book events. All of these things were great, but they didn’t give it the momentum the book really needed to succeed. The book signings were good, but a tad boring, the press was interested, but not enough to feature me more than once. I knew I needed to do something, but let’s face it, when you’re writing romance it?s tough to find a pitch that has the stickiness to it to, well, stick. When you’re taking a fiction book to market you need to have more to hang your star on than a groovy story ? you need something the media can sink their teeth into, you need grit. That ‘grit’ is the reality piece of your story.

Read More :  IPod video sales The sales of the new iPod video are surprisingly good, taking into account the fact that no research has been made for the customer market and their needs or requirements. A possible disadvantage for the sales may be the fact that the negative advertising has been made. This negative advertising concerns the vulnerability of the screens, the easy scratching surfaces and other several features. However, the sales are up due to the great success among the teenagers, among very busy people who travel a lot. Some researches show that instead of the iPod video success and publicity the Amazon online store the most popular iPod is the nano model. However, the sales are ahead expectations and in the case of other stores are outselling the popular iPod nano. These high sales may be due to the high storage capacity, video features and reasonable prices. From this point of view, a selection of users may be made, as the nano edition iPod attracts more MP3 users. Therefore, a new trend and a new profile of user appeared taking into account the high sales for the new video iPod. Another aspect of the great sales concerns the fact the new iPod video is not a competitor for the TV industry, but more a complementary device. Although the rating of some TV shows or films may lower, the iPod video may also contribute to the fame extend of some TV shows or films. The sales may be also triggered by the trendy urban lifestyle and capacity of influencing the preferences and needs of the others. The fact that the episodes of the TV series such is the case of ?Lost? or ?Desperate Housewives? may have contributed to the great success and great sales of the new edition of the iPod. Other sales were going up as they developed from the new edition of the iPod and this is the case of the iTunes Music Store. In this type of store you may buy episodes of the famous TV series, music videos and pictures. The parallel development of two complementary services ? the handheld video device and the special store for it - is a great achievement. Besides, the iPod is the best selling music online store and it will probably be the best music video online store. The sales may also rise due to the new available TV series or TV shows of the famous TV Channels. Taking into account the fact that the iPod is the best seller in the United States, being the most successful music player, it was easy to predict high sales for the new edition, even it is a video iPod. The prices were lower as the lower-cost players were introduced on the market in the last years, but the nano edition has increased the prices. With the new iPod video the price has been pushed beyond the average selling price. That is why the sales of 100 iPods every minute may seem not surprising at all and sales of 14 millions in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2006 are considered not bad at all for such a company. The sales for the iPod video may also rise together with the spreading worldwide of the popularity of this edition of iPod. However, the iPod video doubles the Apple?s sales. The sales were made skyrocket due to the great success of the new iPod video outselling in some cases other types or editions of iPods. Nevertheless, the maximized sales are due to the new video features, longer battery life, more options and more memory space enough for a lot of music, music videos, TV shows and episodes, and even lots of photos for the photo album. These features and improvements make the new iPod video so popular and fashionable. These aspects and others (games, possibility of checking the e-mail, possibility of finding out the time in other cities and other useful features) suit very well the contemporary lifestyle. PPPPP

The truth is there’s always a thread of reality that weaves through each piece of fiction. Find your reality and own it, if need be, craft your pitch around it. Let’s say you wrote a book about a woman overcoming domestic abuse. You’ve done your research, you know the stats, in fact, you might even be considered an expert. Why not then turn a portion of your campaign into a domestic violence pitch? The same can be said for just about anything. They key here is to find that grain of reality and see if it’s interesting enough to create a new peg. Once you’ve found your hook, own it. What I mean is become the expert on that hook and familiarize yourself with ever statistic, every study and every new trend.

When The Cliffhanger was released I soon realized that marketing romantic fiction was only going to take me so far, but marketing the method of printing was more unique. Why? Well, The Cliffhanger was one of the first books in the San Diego area to be published via print-on-demand. Hence, that became my story. Until the Presidential race of 2000. Now that was an entirely different story.

No doubt many of you will remember the counts, recounts, chads, and hanging chads, right? Well, one morning I woke up to find our local paper with the following headline: “Cliffhanger.” I knew right then that if I couldn’t find a hook to hang my star on that angle, I might as well hang up my marketing hat forever. It was at 3 a.m. that I woke up with an idea so stunning, I knew it had to work. I raced out to the office supply store the minute it opened to pick up several packs of clear labels. I got out the postcards I had printed with the book cover on them and stuck on labels with the following slogan:

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Getting tired of the Presidential cliffhanger?
Try this one.
The Cliffhanger, a novel.
No politics involved.

I mailed 500 postcards out that day while praying the election wouldn’t get called. I mailed these postcards to everyone in the media I’d ever contacted. Ever!

Days after my mass-mailing, I was walking through my living room, when suddenly I spotted my book cover on the screen. I was stunned. The local TV anchor was saying, “This has got to be the best thing I’ve ever seen. This lady wants you to go buy her book. I say everyone should rush out and buy it.” And everyone did. That afternoon my book shot up to the #1 spot on Amazon, where it stayed for three months. It even beat out Harry Potter (which was #4 at that time), yet Harry got the movie. Go figure.

The point is that finding an “anchor” will help you push your campaign. This works for book events, too. If you’ve written a crime book, why not “theme” your event with DO NOT CROSS Police line tape (if you can get your hands on it) or some other prop? The key is to be unique, carry your theme throughout your marketing and hang your star on unique ways to promote your book.

But the second piece of this, the piece that’s become all the rage recently, is the visual aspect of your book. Now I’m not talking about the cover, I’m talking about the movie. Yes, you read right. Your book, a movie. Now I’m not talking about a full-blown two hour motion picture. I’m talking about a movie trailer. Most recently several major publishers have started using book trailers to promote the fiction books they publish. Why? Because we are a very visual society, and if you’re trying to distill the core of your book into a thirty-second elevator pitch, why not distill that same information into a trailer? Studies have shown that book trailers can increase book sales in excess of 30%. This is why most of the major publishers are jumping on the book trailer bandwagon. Still not convinced? Check out this book trailer of Candlewood Lake and see if it doesn’t entice you to buy the book:

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http://www.authors-online.com/billboards/drivein/candlewood/index.html

Now here’s a short list of tricks we’ve used to promote fiction:

* For a series of detective novels we worked with, we told the author that instead of pitching the book, we were going to pitch some of the intriguing unsolved mysteries. He became the unsolved mystery expert and when he did a book event, that’s what he talked about. People were enthralled, and it also got him quite a bit of radio, too!

* For a chick lit book last year the author had one of her recipes (for Orgasmic cookies) come to life when she partnered with a local cookie company. The result? We had people writing us for copies of the book just so they could try this fabulous cookie.

* And what better place for a romance reading than a romantic winery? If you live near some wineries, don’t hesitate to stop by there and ask if they’d like to invite you in for a reading.

Have you ever considered partnering with another author who has a similar title? Last year, I consulted with two authors who’d written books about Paris. I decided they might want to meet and partner up for events. They did, and the result was magnifique! Everyone loved the “evening in Paris” they’d created, and needless to say, they got lots of bookings!

The trick is, with all the fiction out there, you have to find a way to be different. Selling the story isn’t always going to sell your book, but entertaining the reader or selling how the story affects the reader or how it can benefit them will. Find your anchor, hook, or story ? and you’ve found an audience.

Becoming a marketing story-teller isn’t as hard as some people make it out to be, and whoever said fiction can’t be marketed just didn’t know how to tell a great story.

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