Finding Promotional Hooks for Novels

This is a cross-posting of an entry that originally appeared on the Book Marketing Maven blog on 7/10/09.

In many ways, fiction is more challenging to market than nonfiction. Novelists must think creatively to apply the marketing tactics commonly used for nonfiction books.

Fiction authors need to find promotional "hooks" within their books. It might be the profession or hobby of the main character in a novel, or the town or historical era where the story is set, or some aspect of  the book that relates to current news or events.

The key is to market to "like-minded people" or people who have an interest in some specific aspect of the story.

If one of the main characters is a horse trainer, then horse lovers are a natural target market. A story involving corporate scandal could be tied to today’s headlines. Southerners identify with novels set in the South. If the story line involves a particular health condition or ethnic group, that could be a hook. A book that’s set during the civil rights movement will appeal to people who are interested in that topic or era.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller has done an excellent job of marketing her Vietnam-era novel, Mrs. Lieutenant, to military audiences. Can you think of other examples of promotional hooks for fiction?

Dana Lynn Smith, The Savvy Book Marketer, specializes in developing book marketing plans for nonfiction books and helping authors learn to promote their books online. She is the author of the Savvy Book Marketer Guides. Dana has a degree in marketing and 15 years of publishing experience. Read her complete bio here.

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