Monday, August 20, 2012

Readers Cross Genres

Our primary message here at AM101 is about distilling down your books and persona into a specific presentation of you - so a reader is engaged in the experience at a First Glance.  J.K. Rowling did not design her persona for a Harry Potter readership that would span a global audience of all ages before book five hit the stands.

Our secondary message is that you have FUN with your marketing. Cross marketing is good, as revealed in the post Cross-Marketing: Help a sistah (or brotha) out! This promotional example is targeted to Romance Readers and to encourage readers to taste different genres within the romance market. But as seductive as romance novels may be, readers don't spend all their time in one neighborhood. To expand your audience potential, novelists need to cross market across a targeted spectrum of interests, locations, and lifestyles.

Authors are encouraged to write in a specific genre - but readers cross those lines in the blink of an eye.

Let's begin with a non-fiction example: Patricia K. Lichen has a set of nature field guides about the insects, plants, and animals found within different environments in Oregon. A cross marketing pamphlet, like the romance focused one referenced above, would include these field guides with books detailing various hiking paths, local delicacies, and even historical attractions. All of these books were represented at local author fair and the authors were encouraged to combine their marketing efforts. Even the history of trains in Oregon can cross market with field guides and hikers because the readers are explorers of their home state.

So let's consider the above example of books on different topics with a common theme of local activities, nature, and history in Oregon. Local authors and novels could be included with these nonfiction books when there is a connection. In other words, Paty Jager's novels and even Lisa Novak's YA books featuring stock car racing, could be two more flaps on the same brochure.
Therese Says: We took our grandson on many local trips this summer from Haystack Rock to the Dufur Threshing Bee. Everywhere we went, there were racks of brochures for local attractions but none for local authors. This is a new promotional venue to consider since the person perusing the racks could be a reader with a book app in their pocket. (Having a great YA book on my Kindle was a bonus when our 10-yr-old grandson was bored and tired!)

Networking has exploded between authors through social media but that is NOT what generates sales. As Kristina McMorris shared, it is the "I've seen your book everywhere" that is the objective of an effective marketing plan. You want to make a sale, and to make a sale the reader needs to find you.

Imagine a trifold brochure (double sided it can feature six different books) that promotes a book on the history of trains in the pacific northwest. Open the brochure and there's an ad for field guides for local flora and fauna. The next flap is a promo for a book about local hiking trails, the next is a historical novel based in that location and written by a local author, another flap promos another author and book set in a current local event or location. This is how authors can help each other, share the expenses, and multiply the promotions.

As you network through your Twitter feeds, at conferences, and attending local writer events and workshops, pay attention to the topics of other authors and read their books to see if you like them. This is important because you must remain genuine in your marketing. When YOU are promoting others books along with your own - you need to feel confident this professional connection will benefit all. This will be an important business deal so be careful how you choose to cross market with other authors.

The days of books only being found in a bookstore or library are over. Those are still the primary locations where readers will go when they are searching for a book. But the authors of today are no longer limited to being found upon those hallowed bookshelves. Readers have a variety of interests and while it is a stretch to cross market nature field guides with stock car racing - have fun with it, you never know when a reader will be interested in both.

Any marketing questions can be posed in the comments on any post. If you have a question, others will too, so we can address our answers to all. Our posts are myths and tips we want to share but we love to target our answers to questions.

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