Do you feel overwhelmed when you think about marketing fiction?
If you do, that’s totally understandable. It can feel like there’s a neverending amount of information to take in and process. On top of that, it’s difficult to know exactly what will move the needle for your book in particular.
To help make fiction marketing just a little more digestible, we’ve gathered seven quick and easy tips for you to understand and take action on.
If you’re ready to cut to the chase and check out seven ideas that work, read on!
It’s never too early to think about book marketing
One of the pitfalls of publishing a fiction book is getting too wrapped up in the creative process of your story and leaving your marketing plan to the last minute.
Although it might seem a bit strange at first, the best time to start thinking about marketing your book is before you even finish writing it.
That’s because marketing fiction fundamentally involves understanding what your ideal readers want and figuring out how to give it to them.
If you stop and think about reader expectations before you start writing your book, you might find some of your creative decisions are made with marketing in mind.
Just to be clear, this isn’t advocating for compromising your artistic integrity or creative vision to please readers.
Instead, it’s about finding a natural fit between what your readers want to read and what you want to write.
Understand the fundamentals of marketing
Before you drill down into the specific tactics and ideas you will use to get your fiction book in front of the right readers, it’s worth taking a step back.
Having a strategic, big-picture view of marketing as a whole is a good idea before you get too stuck into the details.
Some useful fundamentals to focus on include understanding your readers, understanding your competition, considering the price point that will make sense for your book, and having an idea of how your activities fit into your broader objectives.
Thankfully, there are plenty of superb free resources online to learn marketing in a format and level of depth that suits your needs.
Look for inspiration within your genre
While there are core fundamentals that apply to most genres of fiction marketing, it’s worth taking the time to see what’s going on in your genre in particular.
For example, if you are writing science fiction, check out how some of the books you admire are being promoted. What kind of visuals are they using? What kind of language? Which places are they being promoted in?
This is especially important if you are writing in a new genre for the first time. If you’ve previously written fiction for adults but are now focusing on children’s books, you might need to take some time to see how the two styles are marketed differently.
Make notes and save examples of genre-specific fiction marketing you find inspirational. Consider if they could work well for your book if you put your own unique spin on them.
Work out your marketing budget
Crunching the numbers of your fiction marketing budget might be far less fun than writing a novel, but it’s something you can’t afford to ignore.
Unlike some other publishing costs, marketing costs can fluctuate wildly. It’s possible to market a book effectively for free, but it’s also possible to spend thousands. You need to know which approach is viable for you.
The budget you devise depends on many factors, including the activities you will be carrying out yourself VS those you will be outsourcing to others.
When you are getting your budget down in black and white, always ask yourself if any intended marketing expenditure is likely to be recouped through extra sales.
Avoid throwing money at vanity activities which might seem glamorous or give you an ego boost but are unlikely to further your fundamental aims for your book.
Make a timeline for your intended activities
You might be blessed with the type of mind that is equally suited to creative pursuits like fiction writing and logical activities like budgeting and planning. However, many authors are not in that position!
Marketing can soon become overwhelming and hard to keep track of if you don’t plan it out properly.
It’s worth getting a very clear written or visual timeline for your intended marketing plan. Know exactly which activities need to happen by which date. Understand if there is the potential for delays at any stage of the process, and what you will do should any delays occur.
Some writers prefer to have this timeline laid out physically, such as on a large whiteboard they can keep an eye on. Others prefer a digital solution, like Google Calendar or a project planning app like Trello.
No matter which option you choose, make sure you have a written timeline so that your marketing plan happens according to schedule.
Study up on any important tactics you don’t fully understand
While it’s impossible to become an expert in every area of book marketing, it’s worth having a solid grasp of the tactics that you will most often use to promote your fiction.
When it comes to learning an aspect of fiction marketing, you have plenty of options. There are a lot of quality blog posts out there that allow you to learn almost any aspect of fiction marketing for free. You also have the option of investing in paid courses, either to learn a specific skill in particular or self-publishing in general.
As wonderful as it is to acquire new fiction marketing knowledge, you need to strike a careful balance between learning and taking action. There’s always something new you could be learning, but it’s often a better use of your time to put into practice what you’ve already learned.
Track and assess your results
There’s a famous marketing quote that says “half the money I spend on advertising works, the only problem is I don’t know which half.”
That may have been true in the old days, but with digital marketing, it’s easier than ever before to track results and determine which activities are moving you closer to your objectives.
For example, if you’re advertising on Facebook to get downloads of a free fiction chapter, how many downloads are you getting? Does the number make sense for what you’re spending?
Similarly, if you’re using book promotion sites to encourage people to download a free copy of your book, which sites are producing the best results?
When you track your activities and outcomes and know what works and what doesn’t, you put yourself in a position where you know exactly which activities to scale up or down in the future.