Today’s post is not only informative but a bit of a rant about the rampant false marketing of books in today’s market.
One of the first steps in marketing your books is to determine your genre and target audience. Take a good look at your novel and ask yourself these questions. I will be answering these questions for my novel Ferocious as an example.
What tropes and themes are prominent in your work?
- strong female lead
- enemies to lovers
- magic use and vampires
- characters of color
What genre fits your novel best based on these tropes?
- Paranormal Romance
Are there any secondary genres or niche genres that your work fits into?
- Urban Fantasy
- African-American Romance
- Urban Fiction (PRO TIP: Don’t confuse Urban Fiction with Street Lit, Street Lit is a subgenre of Urban Fiction)
- Fantasy Romance
Who is your Target Readership?
- Age 18+ due to sexual content
- Women & Men – romance and fantasy readers
Now that I have a general idea of my readership, I can look into promoting to those particular groups. That being said there are a few caveats that lend to the rant portion of this article.
Say you are a Non POC who wrote a book that contains a main character of color. Should you market your book in categories specific to that ethnic group? The answer here is complicated. A lot of ethnicity or race specific promotion groups prefer #ownvoices work. Not saying you can’t promote there but don’t be surprised if your work is warmly welcomed into those spaces.
Be mindful that just because your book has one character of color does not make your book of interest to readers of that ethnicity.
I have seen an increase in Non-POC authors including a character of color into their books in order to appear more “diverse” in their writing. Not only that but using said character to promote their work as of interest to POC communities (ie BookBubs African-American Interest category). As a reader I can tell you that most of us aren’t going to be fooled by this. In fact it will more than likely get you slammed on twitter and in reviews than be of any benefit to do so.
These promotion opportunities were created in response to the call for minority representation in the literary world and the #ownvoices movement. You have every right to market as you see fit, its your product and your money but if you are truly an ally to diversity, think twice before taking space in spaces not intended for you.
If you can’t wrap your head around that, think of it this way. My book features magic users. There magic is a part of their spiritual beliefs. With that being said I could market my novel to christian and religious romance readers because my book thinly references spirituality. Would I be wrong to do so? Heck yes! There is literally nothing else about my books that fits that category and would be a waste of my time and lead to pretty poor reviews by the few religious romance readers who chose to read my book because of said promotion.
I say all this to say, know your audience and avoid making the same pitfalls as other authors who chose to reach in the wrong places just for a few sales.