17 April 2015, Writing Ideas – New Novel, part 287, Market Focus, Marketing Materials
Announcement: Ancient Light is delayed due to the economy. You can read more about it at http://www.ancientlight.com. Ancient Light includes the second edition of Aegypt plus Sister of Light and Sister of Darkness. I’ll keep you updated.
Introduction: I wrote the novel Aksinya: Enchantment and the Daemon. This was my 21st novel and through this blog, I gave you the entire novel in installments that included commentary on the writing. In the commentary, in addition to other general information on writing, I explained, how the novel was constructed, the metaphors and symbols in it, the writing techniques and tricks I used, and the way I built the scenes. You can look back through this blog and read the entire novel beginning with http://www.pilotlion.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-novel-part-3-girl-and-demon.html.
I’m using this novel as an example of how I produce, market, and eventually (we hope) get a novel published. I’ll keep you informed along the way.
The four plus one basic rules I employ when writing:
1. Don’t confuse your readers.
2. Entertain your readers.
3. Ground your readers in the writing.
4. Don’t show (or tell) everything.
5. Immerse yourself in the world of your writing.
All novels have five discrete parts:
1. The initial scene (the beginning)
2. The rising action
3. The climax
4. The falling action
5. The dénouement
The theme statement of my 25th novel, working title, Escape, is this: a girl in a fascist island nation will do anything to escape–a young cargo shuttle pilot not following the rules crashes on the island.
I’ll make a slight digression because I’m developing advertising and publisher materials for my newest completed novel, Lilly. Here is the cover proposal for Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer.
Before you can market a novel to the public, you have to market it to publishers or potential publishers. This means you need to develop materials to market your novel. These marketing materials can be used when the book is published. We’ve already looked at two main pieces used in marketing: the title and the book cover proposal. These are necessary for a web design, and they are also necessary for a publisher. You can live without a cover proposal for a while, but you need a title right away.
The next step is to build the marketing information you will use to present your novel to publishers and to the public. Here is an outline:
Title of Work:
Lilly: Enchantment and the Computer
- D. Alford
Type: Either Screenplay or Book
Length: Either # of words for books, or # of pages for screenplays
Keywords and Market Focus:
Fiction, Washington State, Tacoma, Spanaway, Seattle, Computer, Pacific Lutheran University, Hacker, goddess, sushi, Redemption, kami, Japan, Shinto, torii, Shrine, engineering, math; will fascinate anyone interested in the spiritual, mystery, and suspense—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy historical mystery and suspense novels.
Author Bio: Approximately 120 words
Synopsis: Approximately 500 Words
Concept of the Work: Approximately 250 Words
Registration: WGA, ISBN, or Library of Congress, Write the number.
Other Information: If you have more work, a website, anything interesting and professional, especially any awards or recognition.
Market focus is your idea of who might want to read your novel. For example, if you wrote a Christian inspirational novel, you might write: will appeal to a Christian audience. If you wrote a homoerotic novel, you might write: will appeal to readers with a sexually energized gay perspective. The point isn’t to hide your perspective or your audience. Publishers usually focus on specific audiences of readers and specific types or genre of literature. The point is to match the two
In general, you don’t apply to publishers who don’t publish the type of literature you are writing. Putting on paper the audience and the focus will help you to know your audience, and your perspective publisher to know if your novel meets their most basic publishing audience. In the example above, you wouldn’t usually present your Christian inspirational novel to an erotic literature publisher, and you wouldn’t present a homoerotic novel to a Christian inspirational publisher. Because of their audience and their publishing focus, they will not be interested in publishing your novel. Publishers, especially smaller publishers, are very specialized about the literature they publish, and their audiences are pretty fixed. You need to understand your audience–that’s the only way you can appropriately target the correct publishers for your writing.
The second point is the focus. A focus isn’t an audience, but is related to the audience. A focus is closer to a genre. Here is the example from Lilly: will fascinate anyone interested in the spiritual, mystery, and suspense—will appeal particularly to those who enjoy historical mystery and suspense novels. The audience is general, but the novel is specifically targeted to spiritual, mystery, and suspense. Lilly isn’t a criminal mystery, but a person who enjoys a mystery novel might enjoy the novel. The second statement clarifies the novel genre as historical mystery and suspense. This places it in an audience and a genre and is the basis for the genre listed below.
As an author, you must understand your audience and determine who might potentially publish your novel. If you want any real hope of being published, your potential publisher must first read your marketing materials and then your novel extracts or the completed novel. If they don’t or won’t, you will have no hope of being published.
At this point everything I’m doing with and for this work is about marketing to a publisher and building a website.