Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People


Finding Author Success by Deborah Riley-Magnus

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!

Deborah Riley-Magnus

HEY EVERYONE … I’d like to offer a FREE 10 Tools for Author Success downloadable handbook to all your readers! Just go to 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.


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.


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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22 thoughts on “Play the “Genre Game” for Serious Marketing Power!

  1. Anna says:

    I’m not sure if you’ve given away the book yet, but I’d love to win a copy 🙂 it’s a very generous offer!


    1. The drawn has been done, Anna. On behalf of Deborah, thank you for stopping by.


  2. Deborah,

    Your excellent post has given me a lot to think about. And thank you for the free book. I look forward to reading it and learning more from your expertise.


    1. On behalf of Deborah, thanks for stopping by.


  3. Cathryn Cade says:


    Great, informative post. I’m about to scoot into another sub-genre of romance, so marketing is on my mind and my business plan these days. I’ve been writing sci fi romance, but have a contemporary paranormal set in Hawaii that debuts in April 2012. This will hopefully introduce me to a whole new sub-set of romance readers.


    Cathryn Cade


    1. On behalf of Deborah, thank you for stopping by.


  4. Excellent post. I’ve been pondering this as I set up a blog tour for next year. Doing an analysis of genres like this is also a great way to think up topics for a blog posts.


    1. Thank you for stopping by, Shelley.


  5. Wow, what a great day you had here, Deborah. I must say your post was very enlightening. I read through your suggestions to those who commented and they were most helpful. It makes me think of where I can find future readers, such as those who frequent the 80s hair metal boards (yes, I post at those!), since my novels take place in that wild era of big hair and loud music.

    Thank you so much for blogging here today.


    1. Maggie,

      It was my absolute pleasure! thanks for hosting me!



  6. Ana Morgan says:

    Very informative post, Deborrah! This is the first time someone’s offered a practical piece of information on reaching potential reader ‘friends’ via Twitter or Facebook. I’m now a huge fan.


    1. Anna!

      So glad you found the info helpful and … I’m a huge fan right back!



  7. Darlene says:

    Great post! I always learn something new. Would love to win a copy of Deborah’s book.


    1. Darlene,

      Crossing my fingers for you! ;~)



  8. Excellent post. My book crosses over with dog lovers and hunters. LOL. I’m not completely sure how to market to them, but hey, I like a challenge!


    1. Melissa,

      OH, dog lovers is a great one! You can approach dog enthusiasts, dog clubs, breeders and seek out hunting dog lovers groups on facebook and twitter. If you know a lot about the dogs, you can offer to write a monthly article for dog store, pet supply store, even pet trainers and vets websites! You can even offer a portion of the sales of your book to animal shelters.

      For the hunters, there are so many live and online hunting and camping and sports stores. Maybe you can do the same with them. But … if your book is a romance and targeted primarily to women, that may not be a super effective direction.



  9. Thank you. I have been working on this for my current novel, but I need to keep it in mind for my nonfiction things as well.


    1. Hi Jill,

      ABSOLUTELY, nonfiction has the same variations in target markets as fiction. The key to bigger, better book sales is to find broader markets to approach. Good observation!



  10. Excellent information. Especially the part about writing a list of descriptive words about my book. My question is: where do I go to find new readers? I’m on author loops and, of course, they’re readers, but there must be other resources, too.


    1. Hi sugarnspicewriters, (nice name!)

      You’re not alone, sugar. So many authors build a great following and friend base of other authors and although other writers are great for support and camaraderie, authors don’t buy other authors books. If I bought every author’s book who friends me at Facebook, I’d have over 3,000 books! It just can’t happen.

      To find YOUR fans you need to do a few things first. Determine everything about your book, the genre, subgenre, and various places, live and online, to find lovers of those genres. For example, women love make up, chocolate and jewelry, right? They generally also love romance novels. Can you reach your fans by asking to post on a jewelry or chocolate store, or makeup store’s website? YES.

      Other ways to find YOUR fans is to take a serious look at your list of genre, subgeres, etc that you made earlier. Go to twitter and facebook and click “Find Friends”. Just type in the category … for example, “Romantic Jewelry”. A list will appear and all you need to do is start making friends. Granted, this list isn’t a targeted “Romance Readers and Lover’s” list, but it is an expansion list that will help you tap more directly into your reading market.

      Hope this helps!


  11. Great post! I was especially interested in the line about selling YA to 35-50 year old women. I’m a YA author who reads quite a bit of YA. Maybe I’ve been limited in my thinking that the teen market is where all my marketing efforts should be.


    1. Hi Brinda,

      Yes, isn’t it amazing! Women 35 – 50 read more YA than young adults! When I read the statistics I was shocked and pleased! After all, women 35 – 50 have more discretionary dollars to spend on books than kids too. But the funniest thing about all this is what you stated in your comment … almost all the YA authors I know are between 35 and 50 and almost exclusively read YA books for pleasure. it’s like those authors ignored the fact that THEY ARE THEIR MARKET, LOL.



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