Writers: grab YOUR unique promotion opportunities

Woman in fur coat holding sparkler in front of lights. Text: Target Yourself. How are you like your audience?I’M FEATURED TODAY ON BOOMER CAFE!

Hey! That rhymes!

I am a Baby Boomer, born between 1946 and 1964, by the Boomer Café definition.

We are the Post-WWII babies, and there are a lot of us. Many of us are getting to retirement age – and able to do as we darn please.

I’ve been reading Boomer Cafe for a while now (though not since 1999, their founding date!), submitted an article now titled, ‘A baby boomer writes the novel she always planned,’ and they published it today!

There are a lot of hard parts for beginning self-publishing novelists

One of them is the perennial question: who is your target audience?

Because the natural answer for newbies, even if they have written a baby board book, is EVERYONE! Which is not as silly as it sounds, since board books are not bought by babies, but for them, by siblings, parents, and relatives, of all ages.

Pride’s Children: PURGATORY, my debut novel, uses every technique I could learn to appeal to men and women of all ages, and teens mature enough to understand adult themes of love, marriage, work, jealousy, obsession (teens = fans?), getting what you want, and sacrifice. The sex and violence and language ‘rating’ is PG-13 (minimal) because I’m interested in story, not mechanics.

But wide POTENTIAL appeal makes it a bear to market: try planning an ad or outreach that will grab the attention of male teens and their grandmothers, and you’ll see what I mean.

Wide appeal for a book means no generic marketing

So you have to look at yourself, see how you are a member of the demographics you are included in, and figure out how to use that to present your book and yourself as author to diverse groups.

If you write straight Science Fiction, for example, there are oodles of promotional opportunities in newsletters, blogs, lists, sites, and at your online retailers. Your only problem (and it is a doozy) is how to make yourself stand out from all the other SF writers and their books).

I read and I learn. What I have learned since PC came out is something I suspected before I published: regular indie marketing strategies aren’t going to work for me and this book.

Which means one thing: diverse marketing, and a different marketing strategy for each group, with the understanding that there is no more homogeneity in the ‘groups’ than there is in my general audience.

Call it ‘trait marketing’: What do I have in common with Baby Boomers?

And that’s where the inspiration for this particular article came from.

First, to clear that away, I have no interest in writing non-fiction articles for magazines, online or in real life. I am a novelist, with books to write and sell, not a free-lancer looking to support herself by writing non-fiction. That’s a different calling, and I don’t have it.

To the extent that I do, this blog and the one for the books (prideschildren.com) are my non-fiction outlet, and I don’t expect them to pay for themselves or my time from what I write there. I get satisfaction from putting my thoughts in order, from the possibility of an eventual book or two if one arises from the posts because a bunch of people seem determined to write the same way I do (it could still happen!), and from the visitors and commenters here and on the blogs I visit.

But it is almost a cliché that many people think that some day they will write a book – and, until I actually finished one and published it, I was in that group. And that was the perfect topic to pitch to Boomer Café, it met with their approval, I wrote it – and it’s here!

Writing for exposure is not NECESSARILY a bad thing, is it?

Boomer Café doesn’t sell ads. The only way I can use their site to get my book in front of the other Boomers who visit there is to write an article which gets published. And provide something of interest for the subgroup of Boomers who might like to at least consider whether they should attempt that novel.

Anyone who writes to me after reading that article will get pointed in the right direction, and that will be a small partial payment for the advice and many kindnesses other more-advanced self-publishers have given me.

If people who read the article want to, Boomer Café has posted my cover, and a link to Pride’s Children: PURGATORY on Amazon, so readers can check it out and purchase if it appeals to them (or they want to see what it looks like).

And I couldn’t hope for any more than that!

I’m exploring myself and Pride’s Children for that kind of publicity opportunities

This past year, I’ve done a lot of hand-selling, to readers and writers I’ve met on Goodreads, Wattpad, Facebook, and via blogs such as ThePassiveVoice and the many others I follow and comment on. That will continue – it is a more personal approach, and has worked well in getting some awesome reviews. It is not a given that I will get a review or a new reader – my success rate there is about 50% for people who will try reading. More importantly I have found almost all of the blurbs for the book that way.

I’m determined to make this a career, rather than a hobby, so I expect PC to pay its own way eventually.

The question to take away is…

What is there in common – and how do I use that to entice people into reading the first few pages, a couple of scenes, or a chapter or two?

BEFORE that, I have the usual: book title, description, cover, editorial reviews, ratings, Look Inside feature, ebook sample, reader reviews, author page, numerical rankings within the various categories and subcategories (if you scroll down far enough on the Amazon product page for the book)…

Even price. Readers have their own opinions about what books are worth; I have priced at the lower range of what traditional publishers charge for ebooks and paper copies, but higher than what indie genre writers charge. And run a sale at least quarterly.

AFTER that, after TRYING, readers know if they might like a book or not. I trust readers as I trust myself to know what they like to read – and whether I’ve done my job to supply that.

I’ve already met some new and interesting people on the Boomer Café site – maybe some will turn into readers.


Thanks to Stencil for the image above and the ability to add my own words.


Readers: how do you like to be appealed to?

Writers: what special niche marketing do you do?

Looking forward to hearing from you (hint, hint)!

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15 thoughts on “Writers: grab YOUR unique promotion opportunities

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thank you – it was a good find as I was poking through my photos, and it’s quite recent (two years), since I chopped my hair off this summer, and it hasn’t grown back.

      As a bonus, I learned this is a good hair length for my face.

      And yes, you should update yours, and USE it in your avatars, etc.

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  1. Janna G. Noelle

    …every technique I could learn to appeal to men and women of all ages, and teens mature enough to understand adult themes…
    That’s a lot of people to appeal to. Good on your if you can manage that. I used to worry about having wide appeal but have since decided to be more focused in my target audience. But then, I think genre plays an important role. It’s called “general fiction” because it’s meant to appeal to the general public, I suppose.

    Good on you too for reaching out to baby boomers. I think that people often forget that boomers read too, the way society tends to forget about older people in general. Even the protagonists in most books are usually age 30 and under unless aging is the specific focus of the story. Representation much, people?

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Kary herself IS a Baby Boomer, but I didn’t have room for that in a 500-word space. I will pitch them more articles at some point.

      I got 7 questions – unusual for the site, from what I can see. Not very many sales, though. We’ll see if there are unexplained sales later – and one nice person bought paper, which is an investment.

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    2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      It IS general fiction. As novels such as Jan Eyre are. That was the deliberate aim, and there are many techniques you learn to use. I recommend Writing the Blockbuster Novel, Zuckerman, as a source of some of them.

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  2. marianallen

    My partners and I write fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, and mystery. We go to conventions of people who read those genres, do panels there, give out cards, and sell our books. We’ve done library events; we do well at some, less well at others.

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Hand-selling is work – but you get to meet readers in person. I wish there were some around here – and I wish I were well enough!

      I keep thinking about the Princeton library – they do some things.

      However, and this is not what I want, at a live event, the reader sees the author – and I’m not sure I am happy with that part. Being a writer lets you edit yourself as well as your work – it’s like photoshopping.

      On my best day, I look like a giant Smurfette – didn’t even dare do that for the article photo.

      The real me writes in non-binding clothes.

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      1. marianallen

        You look like a giant Smurfette?? YOU’RE BLUE??? How cool is that????

        No, seriously, I have to flip into what’s almost an alternate personality to do public appearances and hand sales. I wear something with cats and sequins on it, and make eye contact. I genuinely enjoy people, but I prefer to observe and be invisible, so it’s hard to put on my mask and armor and go out and engage, however much I enjoy the memory of it. It IS exhausting.

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        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          I am, indeed, blue 99% of the time – look up Forever Lazy on Amazon – I have the blue one with the hood.

          I am an introvert – handle people well, but it completely exhausts whatever energy (so, not available for writing) I have..

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Thanks!

      I’d just like to point out it didn’t happen – I made it happen. I need to look for more of these opportunities, because not everything pans out.

      It was still a fun experience, I met some new people, and can’t tell yet if there will be any sales as a result.

      The whole point is to get some new people to think of checking out your fiction, as I’m a shy person, and don’t just want to get articles published on non-paying venues. ‘Try my story – you might like it’ is the desired endpoint here. Because otherwise you would never have heard of me or my book.

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  3. acflory

    Off to read the article but first, thank you. I’m a Boomer too, but I wasn’t even aware that there was such a thing as Boomer Cafe. Indies helping Indies. 🙂

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    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      There is also a Goodreads group I’m a member of called Boomer Lit. You would probably like it there (and we could use fresh blood – mwahahaha!).

      The Boomer Café sends out quite interesting articles of much higher than usual interest for us.

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      1. acflory

        I’ll be honest, Goodreads is not my favourite place to hang out, but I will give your group a look-see. Come near me with a needle, though, and I’m gone! -grin-

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