Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Monday, August 2nd, I discussed ways authors are "Thinking Outside of the Heart-shaped Box" by using niche marketing. Today I'll talk about resources for this type of targeted promotion and tips to use your book elements for things like press releases, presentations, and guest-blogging.

Once you have determined what elements you can use from your stories to promote them, where do you go from here?

There are library reference books that offer information (contact name, email, address, phone, whether the group has a member newsletter, etc) for every conceivable type of association and club. And some of these reference books are available online through library Web sites. Here are two good reference books: 
  • The Encyclopedia of Associations--Regional, State, & Local Organizations (Gale Research Co., Biennial: v. 1. Great Lakes States, v. 2. Northeastern States, v. 3. Southern & Middle Atlantic States, v. 4. South Central & Great Plains States, and v. 5. Western States.) 
  • Associations Unlimited -- electronic resource (Gale Research Inc)

Most of these groups would be happy to hear from an author who has written a book of interest to their members. This does work better, however, for books that have a sensuality level from G-rated to R-rated, since some of these groups might not be willing to promote a "hard R-rated" or X-rated book to their members.

You can contact a group by email to ask if you can submit a press release about your book for their newsletter. Or you can join the group's message board or attend one of their local meetings. You can ask the group's contact person if you can send him/her a copy of your book to be reviewed in the group's newsletter or for their blog. You can run a contest just for their members to win a copy of your book or a themed basket. You can get a table at one of their events to hand out your promotional materials or sell your book.

If you've gotten to know your local librarians, you can ask which groups use in the library's meeting rooms. Or you can see if the library is planning a display or event with a local group. For example, a local quilting group might offer quilts to the library for a display. And if your book features quilting, you could ask the library to add your book to the display.

Or if the library offers classes – say on floral arranging -- and your heroine is a florist, you might ask the library to recommend your fiction book to the students, along with recommended nonfiction books on floral arranging. And if your library makes themed bookmarks for their patrons – which include lists of books on a certain topic or with certain elements (for example, a bookmark of mysteries featuring cats) -- see if your book would fit any of their themes and could be included.  
  • Another promotional angle:  
Depending on your book elements, you can tie your book to events or holidays. For example, there's a National Spay or Neuter Your Pet day. I reinforce my dog logo and brand, while supporting this important day, by guest-blogging on that topic on that day. You would not believe all of the interesting, funny, and crazy holidays out there. ;-) A good resource is Chase’s Calendar of Events

Another way to Think Outside the Heart-Shaped Box is to consider yourself as not only an expert on romance writing but also fluent on your genre or subgenre – and on elements within your books.

For example: 
  • If you write Regency romances, you can give presentations not only about writing romances, but about the Regency period. 
  • If you write mysteries featuring a Napa Valley vintner sleuth, you can write articles on wine as well as articles on writing. 
  • If your contemporary romances feature matchmaking felines, you can blog on pet issues as well as on writing.

It's a little like having a double major in college. One of the majors will be in fiction writing, while the other(s) will concern elements in your books.

Thinking Outside the Heart-Shaped Box is a matter of opening your mind to the possibilities beyond traditional author promotion. All it takes to do niche marketing is the same imagination you use to write your books. ;-)

  • Have any of you used these or similar tactics? What success have you had?

A randomly chosen commenter will win a free e-book, my comic romantic suspense, At Her Command.
Back Cover Blurb
His best laid plans... 

DJ “Rabid Ron” Hart has a grand scheme to win back the woman he loves. It involves an animal adoption fair, a goofy hairless dog named Charlie and an offer she can’t refuse.

Her hidden desires... 

Cara Wilson has fantasies she’s never admitted, and her ex-boyfriend still features in her erotic dreams. If only he didn’t keep his bad-boy urges so tightly leashed. 

Tonight they’ll learn that winning sometimes takes losing control.


Workshop Info:

Several times a year, I present a two-week online workshop on author promotion that offers lessons on topics, such as niche marketing, author branding, and co-promotion/cross-promotion.

Next workshop:  August 15 - 28

Guest lectures:  The following PR-savvy authors and publishing insiders: Melissa Alvarez, Dianne Castell, Carol Ann Erhardt, Karen Harper, Susan Gee Heino, Kathy Kulig, Donna MacMeans, Michael Matthew, Janice Maynard, Karen McCullough, Beth Morrow, Patricia Sargeant, Kay Stockham, and DeNita Tuttle.

For more information on this workshop, please visit:

Marcia James’ short story, Love Unleashed, was part of All Romance eBooks’ American Heart Association fundraiser in February 2010. Marcia offers her 300-page file of author promotion options free to any writer who requests it. Just email her through the “Contact Me” page on her Web site: