A Low-Cost System for Marketing Novels Is Not a Work of Fiction

November 1996
by Judith Appelbaum and Florence Janovic, Sensible So

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The very same people who know that target marketing works for nonfiction are
often surprised when we report that it works for fiction too. “How do you
identify the people likely to be interested in a novel?” they always ask, and “How do you reach them without spending huge sums of money?”

As an old joke goes — carefully. You start by pinpointing markets in terms of
professional, geographical, historical, avocational, and gender interests — to
name just a few possibilities. Then, with some imagination, diligent
research, and an intelligently active author, you tell the people in those
markets how your book relates to things they care about and how they can
easily get it.

To decide what directions to go in, you need to ask 10 Leading Questions. The
answers will help you launch your fiction, no matter what the subject. Most
of the examples that follow are from the experiences of Sensible Solutions
clients and PMA-List subscribers.10 LEADING QUESTIONS FOR TARGETING FICTION READERS1) What subjects are important in the book?

Does the story feature families, addiction, angels, terrorism, or tourism? By
searching in an encyclopedia of associations, in Gale’s and Bacon’s
directories of periodicals, and on the Web, you’ll find groups of people
already interested in whatever your book is about. Dale Smith’s new novel for
young readers — What the Parrot Told Alice — teaches kids about wildlife
conservation, so it’s a natural for bird enthusiasts and en…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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