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Archived Marketing No New Posts > Promoting downbeat, depressing literary fiction?

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message 1: by Joseph (new)

Joseph J. Wood (JosephJWood) | 4 comments Hi everyone. Just wanting to vent my frustration / look for ideas.

So I've written a novel and put it out there on Kindle (Kindle Unlimited too, if anyone knows any ways I can take advantage of that).

It's kind of dark, pessimistic, nihilstic. No real genre, not much of a plot really. Nothing to 'hang it on' if you know what I mean.

I've sent it out for reviews (using a very helpful list on The Indie View).

I've signed up to some promotion sites but I'm not sure how they work. (The Writers Room and Wall of Books).

Nothing seems to be gaining traction or momentum though. I realise marketing is easier if your book has something in it you can use as a hook (a novel about a golfer, you'd spread it on golf blogs etc.). Maybe I just need to find the hook in mine?

I'm not sure though. So I'm kind of looking for advice, help, hints, anything really.

Thanks in advance

- Joseph J. Wood

message 2: by Frederick (new)

Frederick Finch | 101 comments Hi Joseph!
I don't want to sound mean, but if you can't find the hook in your book...
I suspect it is the most relevant factor for sales purposes, to catch the potential readers into buy. I am not an experienced author but am working in marketing industry so can witness that good package sells.
Even before letting your novel to the market you should've already had marketing strategy resolved, at least the basis of it. Now you have to do it reverse way.
Again, I don't wanna to critique or be unsporting. Set up an author's web page with a blog, try to connect the plot to a "hook",preferably in one catchy line, connect to other authors here on GR, many offer a hand of salvation as reviewers, beta/proof readers, opinions... Make a "hooky" blurb.
And hang on.
You wrote it. As it appears to be the hard part, it is actually the easier one. Be patient. Work on your marketing, think of what could be the turning moment of your novel and get it closer to your readers.
And, as a friendly note at the end, if it is okay with you, send me the novel and I will try to get you honest opinion from the marketing POV (you can send me PM).
Anyway, KUDOS for finishing your novel and publishing!!!

message 3: by April (new)

April Wilson (aprilwilson) Hi, Joseph

Congrats on having written a novel. That's quite a feat.

My first question for you would be: what is your goal? Is it to have published a novel and take pride in that fact? Or is it to have a commercially successful novel?

I took a quick peek at the first page of your book - you have a unique and compelling writing style. Have you had beta readers read it and give you some feedback? You really need to get some reader feedback, if you haven't already - and make sure you get the feedback from the right readers - your intended target audience. Do you know who your intended audience is? You really must have one in order to know who to market and promote your book to.

Now, assuming your book appeals to your target audience (if it doesn't then it's time to revise or rewrite), your next step is to market and promote your book to your target audience. Now, not having read your book other than the first page, it made me think of the Lemony Snicket series for middle school kids. And there is a huge market for "dark, pessimistic" books for middle schoolers. So, maybe that's your hook. Maybe you market this as a Lemony Snicket novel for adults. That is your hook - it's a "dark, pessimistic, nihilistic" book for adults. I'm just throwing out some ideas here, without having read your book. You'll have to decide what makes sense.

The bottom line is you MUST market and promote your book so that your target audience will find it. Since there are millions of books out there to choose from, readers choose the books that appeal to them and that are put in front of their noses at the right time. That's how I find a lot of the books that I end up buying and enjoying. If you haven't implemented a well-thought-out marketing and promotion plan, that's your next step. It's not difficult to do, but it does take some knowledge and some savvy. Start researching how to market and promote your novel. I use a combination of free social media outlets and paid advertising.

There are a lot of resources on the Internet for how to do this well. I recommend that you study the podcasts on marketing novels by Joanna Penn, Nick Stephenson, and Mark Dawson. I'm sure there are more, but those are the three big ones that I am most familiar with.

Best of luck to you, and pat yourself on the back for having published a novel.

message 4: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno Hi April,

You seem to be a knowledgeable person in book marketing. Do you by any chance provide marketing, promotional services on a paid basis?
I'd pretty much outsource it to someone apt.


message 5: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4334 comments Mod
Comment deleted.

Please do not hijack threads to promote your services, even if they are free. We have a folder set up for that.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno If it was a response for me that Dwayne deleted, pls send me private message. Apologizing if I'm not exactly on the topic-:)

message 7: by M.L. (new)

M.L. | 1122 comments If you're not sure of the hook, maybe think of what a reader would get out of the book. For example, is it Trainspotting meets . . . Lemony Snicket (since April mentioned Lemony Snicket), or something like that. Since you mention 'nihilist', maybe give readers a frame of reference.

message 8: by Joseph (new)

Joseph J. Wood (JosephJWood) | 4 comments Hi Frederick, April and ML.

I'd just like to say I really appreciate you all taking the time to help me out.

If any of you felt at all that your criticism might be taken in the wrong way, please let me assure you that it wasn't at all. Everything you've pointed out and suggested makes absolute sense and I'll be following up your advice.

If anyone else would like to contribute, please by all means, I'm by no means closing the thread.

Thankyou again

- Joseph J. Wood

message 9: by P.D.R. (last edited Dec 28, 2015 03:00PM) (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) Sad fact is that 'serious' novels are really hard to sell. Romance in all its forms, SF and Fantasy do very well, crime sells next best and those of us with serious/literary fiction have a hard row to hoe.

My colleagues and I formed a writers' cooperative and work together. We have six novels published, five are short listed or prize winners and one is, in ebook form, an Amazon Best seller. The best seller has a strong romance thread which romance readers went for and still buy. Our well reviewed, well awarded, well respected, serious historical fiction has sold very slowly.

All you can do is find the blogs which review 'serious' novels, find groups online which specifically read the heavy stuff, make your author page and website attractive and get out online to meet readers. It takes a long time.

Goodreads has some useful things like giveaways and advanced notices and also nice people in some of the groups who will support you.

Have you tried the email newsletters which go out to writers? And bear in mind that a new author from a trad house publishing in print might not even make 100 sales. If Amazon is publishing 3 million books per year then we cannot expect best sellers except by luck. But a good PR programme might well boost sales.

It is word of mouth which sells a book and this only happens if the content is extraordinary, unusual, different enough and so people talk. Knowing what the mass of readers will find exciting enough to talk about is a trick no one has learned. It just happens.

message 10: by Kat (new)

Kat P.D.R. wrote: "Sad fact is that 'serious' novels are really hard to sell. Romance in all its forms, SF and Fantasy do very well, crime sells next best and those of us with serious/literary fiction have a hard row [...]
It is word of mouth which sells a book and this only happens if the content is extraordinary, unusual, different enough and so people talk."

So: repetitive forms sell very well (after all, there's nothing less original than crime and romance), but at the same time, a book sells only if it's original enough? Sounds like... yeah.

And actually, it's not even true that "serious" things are so hard to sell. The biggest problem is, what Joseph had realised in his very first post, that his book lacks a plot and a genre. If I were to advise something, not knowing the book, I'd probably suggest rewriting it; giving it the aforementioned "hook". People need a story to follow, and when there's one, the "darkness" of the book will become an asset.

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