A Market for Your Book

By Anthony S. Policastro

You have arrived! Your book is scheduled for publication or it is already on the shelves in bookstores all over the country. You couldn’t be happier.

The publisher has set up a national tour for book signings and the marketing of your work. This is now the hardest part of being an author – promoting your work. With more than 170,000 new titles published each year by traditional publishers and over 100,000 print-on-demand titles, you’ll have to do something pretty drastic to garner attention to your work.

What you do have going for you is your genre. Your genre will attract its own fan base and this is your market.

I recently attended a book signing at Quail Ridge Books here in Raleigh, NC by Carolyn Hart for her just released book, DEATH WALKED IN, her 19th murder mystery series and her fortieth book.

As I took my seat, I counted the number of people in the audience. There were 28 including myself. Out of the 28, only four were men, two were with another female (probably their wives), one other and myself. This was a sampling of Mrs. Hart’s readership – women who love to read mysteries.

Unless you have written a book in the caliber of Stephen King, Jodi Picoult or James Patterson, market your book to your niche audience rather than a general one.

One thing Mrs. Hart said that stuck out in my mind was that she had been writing mysteries for years, but could never get a publisher interested in her work. She wrote seven books in seven years and didn't sell any of them. Her break came with DEATH ON DEMAND her fifteenth book and her first best seller published in 1987 and still in print.

She said that prior to the 1980s, most publishers bought only two kinds of mysteries – the hard-boiled private eye plot with male protagonists and traditional mysteries written by dead English ladies. What changed that were three woman writers, Marcia Muller, Sarah Paretsky and Sue Grafton, who wrote a traditional “American mystery” with a private detective as the protagonist. The old genre now with a new twist became extremely popular and still is today evidenced by Mrs. Hart’s 2.7 million books in print and the success of mysteries written by women.

As I mentioned before in earlier posts, not only do you need a well-written book with a unique story, the market has to be ready for your work.

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