My post today is dedicated to other authors out in Etherland who are struggling to accomplish marketing tasks that seem insurmountable.
You have to organize your tasks. I smile as I write this, because I have said this tens of thousands of times to my composition students, many of whom would have preferred to dash something off and turn it in, expecting that I would see the genius of the idea and award it an A. Those who flailed around with the job, rather than plan, wrote poorly with no plan of attack. Now I took my own advice. During my marathon review of book blogs, I worked from notes I’d made about my book, and I looked at them often as I accessed and reviewed the blogs. Sometimes the blogs called my attention to some aspect of the book I hadn’t seen myself.
Because many of the review bloggers are so specific in the kinds of books they’re interested in, the notes centered on the question, What kind of a book have I written? The answers came from my having written two novels and having listened carefully to what folks have said in conversations about both novels. I was able to analyze the new novel from a broader perspective, realizing that many of the characteristics of differing types of books can overlap in a novel, thus giving the author more blogs to match up with and contact. Here is an example of how the process worked, in considering the genre of the book.
- Usually I classify my novel as a mystery. Is it more than that? In the literary world, the definitions of “mystery” and “suspense” sometimes overlap. I could put my novel forward as a mystery with excruciating elements of suspense. That opens two categories in bloggers’ pages.
- Could I find bloggers who like to read “serious” mysteries? This is a sub-category into which my book fits neatly. There is no silly woman tripping around on high heels while her cat solves the mystery and she worries about her hair and makeup and the new man. Connie Holt is involved in saving a horse’s life, serious stuff all right, and there is a strong presumption that maybe people will be injured or killed as well.
- What other designation could the book have? It is for adults, but young adults of late teen-age can read and understand it. In fact, there is a heroic young girl in the book who is present at and participating in the climax. I could offer my book as YA. Now we have a serious mystery with excruciating suspense for adults and young adults. What else?
- Could it be considered as a romance? Yes. There are several romances in the plot. An acute reader, as a matter of fact, can compare and contrast those relationships. So yes, to romance. But serious, not silly romance.
- Another question is does the novel “say” anything? That is, does it pose questions which are universal in scope, and appeal to all human beings everywhere? Well, yes. To all those who hate what is done to horses in racing all over the world. For people who want a novel to make a point, here is their meat. Many critics think that mysteries shouldn’t have a meaning behind it, a theme. It isn’t appropriate; only mainstream literature says something important. But that is a sour, narrow viewpoint from poor thinkers. So yes, my novel can be placed foursquare into stories that say something important. Another viewpoint to look for in the blogs.
- Finally, can the reader learn anything from reading He Trots the Air? That is, apart from my preceding point? Yes. The reader can find out about how a painting is proved authentic; what some types of Virginia architecture look like; how a horse is trained. Together with details of Virginia life and manners. This will appeal to many bloggers who like to learn as they read.
You will have to explain to the bloggers why your book has many of the characteristics of literature they like. Perhaps it is about a crime, but there is so much more there. Even though this is a tough marketing project, you can do it by being organized, coming up with a way to work through the many book blogs on the Internet. Good luck!