For Fiction Authors Seeking Marketing and Publicity for Their Books

On last week’s blog post, I shared some pointers on how to get into a publicity and marketing state of mind before you start working on your books.

I received some nice feedback on that content, including a note from Monica Starkman, a psychiatrist and faculty member at the University of Michigan Medical School Department of Psychiatry. She wrote (and I have her permission to share this with you), “Dear Joanne, As a psychiatrist,  I can say with certainty that your tools here are most valid as psychological motivators. Great job. For fiction writers,  it’s a little more difficult to think of how one is ‘helping’ others, though. Although certainly there must be a deep psychological benefit from listening to stories and then reading them, since almost all of us have that need.”

First of all, I want to point out that a psychiatrist saying that the tips I shared are valid amounts to credibility in spades. These are the kinds of comments, testimonials, and endorsements you want for your own books, blogs, podcasts, or whatever you’re creating. Credibility is so important and you should be using positive comments from others in your own marketing materials. So, thank you, Monica. And second, thank you for your thoughts regarding authors of fiction. You’re right. It’s a different kind of situation, but believe it or not, there can be some crossover.

When it comes to publicity and marketing campaigns for fiction, much of the coverage is in the form of reviews, both from readers and from the book editors at industry trade journals who basically tell booksellers and librarians what they should be ordering. When it comes to getting media coverage and doing interviews, here is a strategy authors of fiction can use:

  • Get lots of reviews, both from media and from your readers
  • Target your local media. Often you can get some coverage simply by being a local author with a new book
  • Look for the nonfiction angles contained in your book. For example, Monica wrote a novel called The End of Miracles: A Novel, which I see published just over a year ago now. Taken from the summary about the book on Amazon, it says: "Written by a prominent psychiatrist, this stirring portrait of one woman’s psychological unraveling takes readers on a suspenseful journey across the blurred boundaries between sanity and depression, madness and healing..."

Just from that sentence alone, and that fact that Monica Starkman is a psychiatrist, she can be an expert on all things mental health. She can do interviews that that focus on mental health, and then talk a little about her book, segueing into how relevant this is in our society at large. If I were handling this book, I would look up National Mental Health Day, National Depression Week, and Mental Health Healing Month, for example, and work a campaign around those timely events. Once you have figured out the hook, then you would create your key messages and when you’re doing an interview, you would think about the person who is suffering from depression, or maybe their caretakers, spouse, or children. These issues are very real in our culture, so you can take your fictitious story and actually create a campaign where you discuss mental health…And, of course, let them know where they can pick up a copy of your wonderful book.

There are so many ways to get coverage for what you have written, and fiction authors simply need to be a little more creative and come up with those very compelling nonfiction angles. Think about the issues your novel brings up and start from there. You will have ideas before you know it.

To your success!

Joanne