This is an excerpt from www.diyauthor.com
You don’t have to be Neil Gaiman, Robin Hobb, or George R. R. Martin to have a successful career as a fantasy writer. Whether you write epic fantasy, paranormal romance, magic realism, steampunk, or one of the fantasy genre’s many other sub-classifications, you just have to find the readers who also love that same brand of fantasy fiction. So, where do you find and engage with the readers who want the type of fantasy you write?
Marketing anything takes time and effort, but without marketing, success as measured in sales is next to impossible unless you are already well-known and successful. Stephen King has little trouble marketing his novels. Then again, he also gets a six-figure contract for nothing beyond an idea for his next novel. You’re not there yet. You need marketing, and you need a marketing strategy.
To sell your book, you have to have visibility. Buyers need to be able to find your book, but that’s not the biggest part of visibility. The biggest factor is how effective your book’s presence is in front of prospective buyers, not those already actively looking for it. Visibility is about being where they are looking even when they are looking for something else. Book marketing is about positioning for visibility.
Know your audience
One of the most remarkable features of the fantasy fiction genre is that its audience is so diverse. Many genres are far more limited in audience, which forces marketers of books in those genres to narrow their approach to certain age groups or one gender over the other.
It must be noted that according to the U.S. Book Consumer Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review for 2013, women buy more books and spend more money per book than do men. But this is not genre-specific information. It covers all genres. And while other sources have supported the assumption that fantasy genre readership is heavily male, this may be a misconception.
Lightspeed magazineIt seems that fantasy fiction writers are far luckier than many other writers as audience demographics go. The sci-fi/fantasy (SFF) magazine Lightspeed conducted a survey of its readership and came up with some interesting information. While respondents did support the notion that readership is a little more male than female (59.2 percent), some other results were more striking. By far, the most-cited occupational demographic was “professional.” The three largest sectors for highest level of education were bachelor’s (36.7 percent), master’s (24.1 percent), and some college (12.6 percent). In order of use, respondents identified these preferred social media: Facebook (74.2 percent), Twitter, Google+, LiveJournal, Tumblr, other, and StumbleUpon (only 3.7%). And on a yes-or-no question, 58.4 percent said they were also SFF writers.
In an attempt to answer the demographics question more thoroughly, science fiction writer Mark Niemann-Ross conducted his own survey and found that science fiction readers are wealthier than average and represent an age spectrum that is uniform except for a dip in the 45-65 age group. That is the only age demographic that does not claim heavy sci-fi readership.
Your readership in fantasy fiction is both male and female, educated, intelligent, financially well off, and involved in social media. Many of them are writers in the genre themselves. And their age demographic is extremely wide, with the only dip appearing from 45 to 65.
So where do you find these like-minded people? For starters, you find them in all of the places you enjoy going, and in all of the most popular places on the ever-expanding Internet. Your goal is book sales, of course, but your preliminary objectives must include directing traffic. This is marketing through reader-targeted outreach, and the Internet is the perfect vehicle for that. If you start to think in terms of communication channels through which you direct traffic from outlying sources, funneling that traffic to your website and blog, you can see the potential benefits to be derived and the book sales that will result. It takes some work, but it is worth it in the end.
Building your Internet presence
Build your website for one objective: selling your book. But to do that, you need to focus on several lesser objectives. Namely, you need to have a site that is easy to use and appealing to look at. If you drive traffic to a site that no one finds attractive or one that is difficult to navigate, you have already lost some sales you might otherwise have had. READ ON
Michelle Sagara West has a beautifully laid-out website that displays her novels in the context of a body of work. West uses an easy-to-use platform (like WordPress) to create a professional-looking website that requires very little technical expertise to generate. The simple, single menu bar at the top of the page makes it easy for visitors to find exactly what they are looking for, and allows those visitors to see, at a glance, that West has written several books, makes appearances, and has enough readers to make an online forum a viable resource for them.
Think of your writer’s blog as your heartbeat. Because that’s what it is. It is the heart (and soul) of your Internet presence. Your professional website should highlight your blog first and foremost. Author Tananarive Due writes short, simple blog posts about a variety of topics, some (but not all) of which are written about her own published works. Blogging in this way serves two primary purposes: First, readers get to dive a bit deeper into the mind of an author whose books they enjoy reading. Second, it generates potential new readers when blog posts show up in Google search results.
On Facebook, you will find groups that READ ON
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