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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Marketing Your Locally Set Book - Esri Rose

You might think this topic is geared toward published writers, but the best time to start marketing a locally set book is before you finish the manuscript.

Unless you live in a very small town, newspaper and other media are fairly disinterested in the release of another fiction book, even it’s set on the steps of city hall. Fiction is not news to them. On the other hand, many of the general populace are still pretty excited to be featured in a book. Not all of them, however, and some of them are still going to pooh-pooh romance – sad but true. And if your book has a lot of sex, well… The local marketing angle may or may not work for you.

All that said, here are some things you can do.

  • Feature local businesses and landmarks. Don’t pick the latest, trendy restaurant or the brand-new oxygen bar. Chances are, those will be long gone by the time your book is out. Go for longevity. More people will recognize local icons of business, too.
  • Feature well-attended, enthusiastic groups. Does your town have a greyhound rescue organization? Breed-dog lovers can be loyal readers if you feature their favorite pup in a book.
  • Market to gender when picking what groups to feature. Your town may be noted for its Civil War re-enactment group, but how many of those guys read romance?
  • Look for tie-ins. If you feature a woman-oriented business, they may be willing to promote your contest or host a book-release party. Now is the time to feel them out about it, but be diplomatic. “I was thinking of featuring your salon/jewelry store/chocolate shop in my book. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a joint party?” If you know the owner, are a good client, or have a good friend who is willing to pitch for you, you’re in better shape.
  • Look for communication vectors. The greyhound group that has an active Yahoo Group and a nationwide email list is better than the knitting store that puts a stack of newsletters out twice a year.

Get the idea? Great! Now get cracking on that book
about the lingerie-shop owner who owns a lovable rescued greyhound and gets proposed to at your local fancy restaurant.

Esri Rose’s paranormal romance, Bound to Love Her, is available right now!

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At 10:59 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Great advice! Can you tell us if you featured any local businesses or groups in Bound to Love Her? How about the book you're working on now?

At 11:18 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

This column is more a matter of "Do what I didn't do." Unfortunately, elves are not big users of goods and services. I still have time to do something with book 2.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

I'll have to go along with the "do what I didn't do" statement. It's a terrific idea. But it's difficult to apply to historicals set in England. Now I'm doing fantasy medieval historicals, and that makes it even harder.

But there are still ways to use location in promotion. I found lots of interest in Bath and at Haddon Hall, both of which had been featured in my stories. Some authors even set up signings in the far-away locations they've used.

Other ways might be to participate in local re-enactment fairs and groups such as the Jane Austen Society. Or if local businesses can be used in developing resources, give them credit in your dedication, and maybe they'll want you to do a book signing at their store.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Writing Regency Historicals makes this more difficult, Esri! But I will say I had the two best booksignings ever at my local Curves, at which I'm a member. 40 books one time. 30 the next. The first time I did that, I alerted the local media (small community newspapers) and did get a newspaper interview out of it.

For my first book, I also went back to my old workplace. The deli on the ground floor let me set up a signing there so all my old work friends could come buy my first book. I put up some notices on bulletin boards in the building and in mailboxes but I had to be careful to do so only to the folks who knew me from working together (rules of the workplace).

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

I let everyone in my local community chorus know, and that definitely helped at my book signing.

At 12:02 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

That's a great idea about Curves, Diane! I assume you were a member at the time and knew people.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Great ideas, Diane. Makes me think of the coffee and bagel shop across from my old office. It is under new ownership, but you never can tell...


At 3:04 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Yes, these are all great ideas! Thanks, Esri. There must be some sort of Elve Group out there... :)

At 4:32 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

If you find an Elf group, ask them if they include Faeries too.

At 5:25 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Too bad I can't spell elf!

Oh, I googled "people who like elves" and I got an elven reality site that you could join, Esri and then tell them about your book!

There's also a myspace site with only 7 members for people who look like elves. :)

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Delle, I was thinking of founding an elven author group blog. You're more than welcome to be a part of that. Elves, faeries... They're kissing cousins.

Theresa: Aren't you sweet to do that research! I'm actually a member of the Orlando Love group (dedicated to Mr. Bloom in all his incarnations), and I should be writing a piece of fan fic to promote myself, but I just haven't had time.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Kissing Cousins... And it sounds like there's a book in that, too, Esri.
Sure, I'll go for it!


At 8:59 PM, Blogger doglady said...

Great post, Esri! Hmmm, an elven support group. It could work!

I already have strict orders from our local bookstore owner that my FIRST book signing MUST be held there.

What I would really love to do is return to the little village in England where I lived as a child to do a book signing because many of the settings I used in Lost in Love and in The Raven's Heart are places in and around that village. A girl can dream can't she?

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I did a Web teleseminar today that wasn't too helpful. Basically it said blogging was good (g) and that it was a good idea to join sites or write articles for special interest sites.

O Doggie One, for those people you are connected with in helping animals, be sure they know when your book sells (I'm confident it will!)If they have a newsletter, you can be featured.

At 9:18 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

doglady: You should definitely go back to England and do a signing. I bet they'd love that. It probably won't make any diff to your publisher, but you'd get to write off the trip as a bidness expense!

At 12:04 PM, Blogger Lee McKenzie said...

Such great advice, Esri.

The hero in my December Harlequin American Romance, With This Ring, has an Old English Dog named Max.

When the book was released, I blogged about a couple who rescue sheepdogs, which ended up creating some buzz about me and my book on a sheepdog discussion group. Harlequin American Romance Authors: It’s a Dog’s Life

I even received emails from non-romance readers who said they were going to buy the book, all because of the sheepdog :)

At 2:54 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Lee, I was thinking of your experience in particular. I should have said that.


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