Today at Romance, She Wrote, we have guest Deborah Riley-Magnus, author of Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power Within your Manuscript. Deborah is here to inform us what the “genre game” is and how we can use this marketing tool for serious marketing power. As Ed McMahon likes to say, “Here’s Deborah…”
We all know the reason for genres, right? Genre categories were created for ease of book placement. If a customer is strolling through a bookstore and wishing to purchase a Romance, or Mystery or How-to-Garden book, the signs will tell them were to look. It works the same with online stores.
Another way we use genres is to find publication. When you pitch a literary agent or publisher, you must specify the genre category of your book. This tells the recipient of your query two things. 1) That you understand the industry and 2) that you understand the market.
But … we already know all that. What I want to chat about today is something a little different. It’s something I call the Genre Game and it is a magical, cross marketing tool for authors. It’s fun and powerful but playing the game and playing it WELL for cross marketing are two different things.
To briefly explain the Genre Game, let’s imagine you own a beauty salon. Your immediate first customers will be women seeking a stylist to cut, color or style their hair. One of those women might bring in their child for an appointment. Now you’ve found a cross market and a new customer – children – and you stick a sign on your window stating that you style kids hair too. One afternoon, one of your stylist mentions that she does manicures, so you set up a station for her where she can do manicures and pedicures and another sign goes into your window. You’ve cross marketed further and your customer base just grew again. After that, you put a few shelves up and stocked them with shampoos, conditioners, hair treatments, brushes and combs. Have you gained more customers? Not exactly but you have gained more sales from your existing customers.
The point of this example is simple. Cross Marketing works on a variety of levels for new exposure, but it also helps with creating stronger ties to your existing fans. There is another, very important point to make here. Like the beauty salon, you, the author, must deliver quality to the customers. Bad hair stylists are more likely to lose customers than gain them, and broken promises are guaranteed to create nothing but failure.
The beauty parlor example may seem elementary but everything about good marketing and cross marketing is extremely simple.
If you’ve written a mystery, “Mystery” is your primary genre but it’s just the jumping off point for your specific cross marketing efforts. You need to explore deeply into your manuscript to discover how many possible sub-genres you can cross market to. Is your mystery a period mystery? Does it have a little steampunk flavor it? Is there romance involved? Are there paranormal elements in the book – ghosts or supernatural creatures or paranormal events? Is there a hint of horror in your story? Is the target reader primarily young adults? (Remember, a great additional target for YA is women, 35-50 years of age.) Is it a cozy mystery or does it have hints of sexuality or erotic romance in it?
Now a yes answer to any of these questions might uncover a subplot to the story … if so, it is a terrific cross marketing avenue. Stretch out your mental minions like curious fingers and comb through your book. If you’re marketing it hard to mystery readers, it could be extremely profitable to slip in and do some marketing to groups that fit the various subgenres you uncovered. You shouldn’t go to a Romance audience and call it a Romance Mystery if there’s only a secondary hint of a romance in the story, but you certainly can go to a romance audience and tell them that your book is a Mystery with some romance.
Literary agents pretty much perfected the Genre Game while trying to pitch and sell books to major publishers. It expands the probable buying audience and makes the book more desirable to those taking the financial risks of publishing it. There’s no reason we can’t use it to help get more sales for our books.
Playing a GREAT Genre Game is all about understanding the target audiences you’re going after. Do some serious research. Granted, there are a few genres that simply can’t play this game – children’s books, non-fiction and extremely hard erotica, for example. But generally, every other genre can grow a strong expanded audience simply by taking itself out of the genre pigeon-hole.
Take the challenge and see what you can learn about your own book. Write down every descriptive word you can think of about your book and explore the possibility of exposing your book those new audiences. You’ll be amazed how many options are available to you.
See you in the Genre Game playing field!
HEY EVERYONE … I’d like to offer a FREE 10 Tools for Author Success downloadable handbook to all your readers! Just go to http://theauthorsuccesscoach.com/ and hit the button for your FREE downloadable PDF!
If you’d like to win a copy of Finding Author Success, just comment here at the blog, ask questions or just say you’re interested and Maggie will have a drawing for the winner.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Marketing Power Within Your Manuscript.
Even the odds for authors with this one-of-a-kind guide to marketing success! Deborah Riley-Magnus takes tried and true marketing, publicity and promotional strategies and tailors them for the unique needs of today’s author. Every element is outlined and explained for easy implementation. You will learn:
- How to develop a functional and strong book business plan
- The power of developing effective, targeted platforms
- The basics of publicity, marketing and promotion
- How cross marketing works and why it’s magic for an author
- How to personalize it all to your book
Finding Author Success will take away the mystery about gaining sales and increasing exposure for your book and you as a professional author.
A portion of the sales of this book will be donated to the American Literacy Council. The American Literacy Council’s main purpose is to convey information on new solutions, innovative technologies, and tools for engaging more boldly in the battle for literacy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction. She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and just returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years.
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