Posted On March 2, 2016 by Print This Post

7 Killer Ways to Promote your Romance Novel By Sandra Beckwith

With a tagline like “Do-it-yourself book marketing tips, tools, and tacticsSandra Beckwith was a shoe-in for a post with Romance University! Take it away Sandra!

beckwithtYou think it’s harder to promote fiction than nonfiction?

You’ll get no argument from me! Let’s be honest: Because people who enjoy romance novels are found in a wide, wide range of professions, geographies, lifestyles, and income levels, it can be more challenging to zero in on those readers than it is, say, to find readers for a book about best practices in human resources.

Still . . . I cringe when I hear from romance writers who think that all they can do to get exposure is run contests, beg for reviews, and post on Twitter. There’s so much more you can do to get your book title in front of the right people – and your novel deserves it.

I’ve outlined seven more tactics that work for fiction below. Be open to the possibilities! Give one or two of them a try and evaluate the results. You have nothing to lose, and much to gain.

  1. Support your book with a good website designed by a professional.

Your website has to be as good as your writing. If it looks amateurish, readers will think your writing is amateurish, too.

Use your site to help us connect with you as an individual, not as a lofted author. Romance writer Maya Rodale’s site helps us get to know her better by including a page labeled “Connect” that includes the encouraging message, “I love to correspond with readers.”

What’s more, her site color scheme of pink and white tells women – the primary audience for romance novels – that they’ve come to the right place.

  1. Use email marketing.

So few novelists are using email today to build their fan base that it’s easy to make headway with this valuable marketing tool right now.

Fact is, email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. How can you turn your back on that?

  1. Think beyond book reviews.

Book reviews are valuable and securing them should be on any author or publisher’s book promotion to-do list, but your novel deserves more widespread, long-term, and ongoing exposure than it can get through reviews alone.

You want the press to talk about your book for as long as it’s available for purchase so work to get media exposure on an ongoing basis by pursuing publicity.

  1. Use your content to identify promotion allies.

This could be your secret weapon because honestly, not enough novelists are doing this.

Camille Noe Pagán’s novel, The Art of Forgetting, tells the story of what happens to a friendship when one of the friends suffers a traumatic brain injury, so Pagán partnered with the Bob Woodruff Foundation (Woodruff suffered a brain injury while covering the Iraq war for ABC-TV).

Look, too, at your characters’ professions – there’s an association for just about every occupation. Send a copy of the book with a letter outlining promotional possibilities and what’s in it for them. You might offer to speak at their national meeting, write for their member publication, or offer a discount to members.

  1. Mine the nonfiction nuggets in your manuscript and use them to create newsworthy material for media outlets.

“Nonfiction nuggets” are the hidden news hooks you can use to get publicity and other exposure.

Is your protagonist a radio jock? The morning drive time personalities would love to interview you by phone. Is she a jilted wife starting over in the workforce as – let’s say – an account executive at a high-flying packaging design firm who finds love with her client at a consumer products company? You’ve got publicity opportunities with the packaging and marketing trade magazines.

What about locations, products, or services in your novel? A brand name product that plays a key role could get your book into that brand’s employee newsletter.

If you’re writing your romance novel now, work in some nonfiction nuggets you can capitalize on later.

  1. Leverage what you uncovered while writing your book.

Did you learn about a period in history or a specific region? Use this knowledge as a springboard for publicity. The author of a historical romance novel set in South Carolina, for example, can write and distribute a news release announcing the top romantic attractions in that state or pitch local newspapers or regional magazines on an article about the state’s most romantic date destinations.

Your goal is to be quoted as an expert source because this requires using your book title as one of your credentials.

  1. Take advantage of holidays, special occasions, annual events, and seasonal stories.

You want to constantly look for special days or occasions you can connect your book to. The most obvious one for romance writers is Valentine’s Day, and you want to leverage that by sending the media a tip sheet on how to be romantic or a related topic, but there’s a holiday for just about everything. Hitch your book to one of them and use it to get into the news.

Use the monthly calendars at Holiday Insights for inspiration.

Pick just one that seems like a good fit for your experience and comfort level, and learn how to do it well. You might just hit the sweet spot for your book marketing efforts.

What has been your most successful tactic for promoting fiction?

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Join us on Friday for the always entertaining Damon Suede!

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Bio: Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Her training programs include a home study e-course on how to market fiction. Download her free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” at http://buildbookbuzz.com/gift; you’ll also receive her free weekly newsletter.

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17 Responses to “7 Killer Ways to Promote your Romance Novel By Sandra Beckwith”

  1. I love this post! It brims over with great tips. I’ve taken advantage of a couple of your tips with marketing my trilogy, The Lady of the Pier, that’s set partly in Brighton, England and also in Corfu, Greece. I’ve associated myself with numerous sites and Facebook groups related to both areas and this has earned me a substantial amount of new exposure and sales. Authors don’t often think of ‘location’ when marketing their books and I believe miss out a lot as a result. Thank you so much for sharing this terrific post!
    Effrosyni

    Posted by Effrosyni Moschoudi | March 2, 2016, 7:34 am
    • I’m so glad you liked it, Effrosyni, but I’m also SO PLEASED that you’ve leveraged your books locations to get more exposure and sales! That is so smart of you and you’re right — not enough authors do that. Thank you for sharing that and becoming our “exhibit A” for the post. I appreciate it.

      Sandy

      Posted by Sandra Beckwith | March 2, 2016, 2:54 pm
  2. Great tips, Sandra! I especially love the mining for non-fiction nuggets. Have done that somewhat, but need to give it some more thought. The thing I find most difficult is using email. I have a list and send out an occasional email, but people just seem reluctant to give email addresses because they’re afraid they’ll be spammed. And suggestions on how to capture those valuable email addresses?

    Posted by Darlene Deluca | March 2, 2016, 10:05 am
    • What a great question about email, Darlene. First, you need to reassure people that you won’t be spamming them with “buy my book!” and “me-me-me” information. When you email them, focus on providing information that they want, which isn’t necessarily information that YOU want them to have. If you blog, it can be a short intro to your blog post with a link every time you publish.

      As for getting them to give up their addresses, you want to offer a digital gift in exchange for an email address. It might be a short story, the first chapter of your next book, or even the first book of a series if you have one. Doing that allows them to “sample” your writing while it offers something of value to them, too. I’ve got more on this topic in this article on my site: http://buildbookbuzz.com/reader-magnets/

      I hope it gives you something to think about.

      Sandy

      Posted by Sandra Beckwith | March 2, 2016, 3:01 pm
  3. Morning Sandra!

    Wow, lots of helpful hints there….and some great new ideas!
    What’s your best ideas as to how to expand your email newsletter base? That’s a question I hear a LOT…

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Peters | March 2, 2016, 10:06 am
    • Carrie, the best way to do that is to offer a free digital download that has value to your target reader. See my comment to Darlene above.

      Then, have an opt-in form (subscriber box) on every page of your website. Plus, set up what’s called a landing page — a page with no links to anything on your site — with that opt-in form/subscriber box and the reference to your free digital download gift.

      Have an email sign up form at book signings and any time you speak, too.

      You can also run contests that require people to subscribe to be entered.

      I hope this helps!

      Sandy

      Posted by Sandra Beckwith | March 2, 2016, 3:04 pm
  4. Thanks for a very helpful post, Sandra!

    Posted by Becke Martin Davis | March 2, 2016, 10:47 am
  5. Hi Sandra. Thanks for the great tips. I loved the clean & professional look of Maya Rodale’s website. I have been thinking about creating a different web site (one that is separate from my blog) but I worry that I would lose out on my regular blog followers. Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Posted by Adite Banerjie | March 4, 2016, 5:21 am
  6. Adite, part of this is semantics. I just visited http://aditebanerjie.com/, which is a website that incorporates a blog (but I recommend that you add “blog” to the toolbar). A blog is a platform that lets you add articles — it started with sites like blogspot that initially didn’t allow users to add tabs and toolbars with additional pages, etc.

    A website is bigger than a blog — it’s a site that has tabs/pages for different content areas — your book list, “about,” press room, and perhaps a blog.

    What you have now is what you want — but as noted, you want to identify the blog in the toolbar so it gets found (don’t expect people to realize that the titles running down the right side are blog posts — when we’re looking for info and content, we look on the toolbar). I would recommend keeping this URL and, if you’re not satisfied with the appearance (but I like what you have!), doing a site re-design.

    All of which leads to this question: what is prompting you to consider creating a different web site? I’d like to learn more about that.

    Thanks!

    Sandy

    Posted by Sandra Beckwith | March 4, 2016, 7:45 am
  7. Dear Sandra,
    “Seven Killer Ways” is one of the most useful, and well-written, posts that I have read in months.
    I have never fully accepted the fact that if a person self-publishes then sometimes quite aggressive self-marketing automatically follows, but your post has shown me avenues of marketing which appeal to me more than exposure on the standard social platforms. I am not an accomplished marketer. In fact, I dislike having to ask for reviews and I don’t do it. I once received a five-star review which was so appallingly written (and indeed proved that the reviewer might have spent an hour reading the book) that I tried to have it removed.
    However, your post has provided me with possibilities that can take me away from Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
    Thank you very much.

    Judith Rook

    Posted by Judith Rook | March 6, 2016, 12:11 am
  8. Judith, you have totally made my day! Thank you! You might also like one of the most popular articles on my blog, How to promote a book without using social media” at http://buildbookbuzz.com/promote-a-book-without-using-social-media/

    I had asked members of my Build Book Buzz Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/BuildBookBuzz/) what they wanted help with, and that topic came up a couple of times. It’s only been up for a few weeks but it’s already my most popular post. There might be something in it for you.

    Thanks again for today’s smile. I really appreciate it!

    Sandy

    Posted by Sandra Beckwith | March 6, 2016, 9:35 am
  9. I would highly recommend romance authors to spend a little bit of money on online promotions. The main player in this space is bookbub, but there are plenty of other smaller sites that do a great job with romance.

    Here are some lists of book promotion sites:
    http://www.molly-greene.com/market-a-99-cent-ebook-sale/

    http://www.indiesunlimited.com/book-promo-sites/

    http://www.tckpublishing.com/top-kindle-book-promotion-sites-for-paid-kindle-books-0-99-and-up/

    Posted by Paul D | March 7, 2016, 1:46 pm
  10. Thank you sooooo much…. I am going to try at least three of the ideas immediately.

    Posted by Lynne Lexow | March 10, 2016, 3:58 am
  11. Has anyone had any success with paid advertising? You know…google ads, amazon ads, or companies that specialize in book advertising.
    Greg

    Posted by greg | March 10, 2016, 7:59 pm

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