Book Market Research and Fiction Marketing

Getting Book Market Research Right

When conducting book market research, one of the worst mistakes marketers make is thinking that every book needs the same marketing campaign.

It’s easy to see how the mistake is made. Marketers think, “If more people see this book, more people will buy it—therefore every book just needs to be in the most public place possible.”

It’s simple logic, and it’s attractive if you’re looking for an easy solution to marketing your book. However, if you approach book marketing this way, you will never see the results you want.

The reality is that different types of books come with different communities of readers, and those communities need to be approached in very different ways.

This is why Storiad’s Outreach tool offers a variety of communities for you to connect with:

We’ve heard back from a number of authors asking which particular types of of outlets are right for their book, and so we’ve decided to write this article on book market research strategies, listing precisely which type of outlet you should be reaching out to for your book.

Note: We’ve divided this list up into the three most popular categories of books. We could, in theory, go on forever listing categories and subcategories in the publishing world.

1. Genre Fiction Marketing

Genre fiction is loosely defined as any niche of fiction that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of “literary fiction”—crime, thriller, romance, science fiction, etc.

These various niches tend to fly under the mainstream media’s radar, with only mega-bestsellers receiving any major media coverage. Genre fiction writers, however, don’t necessarily even always look at these major outlets as part of their primary marketing campaign..

To put it simply, if you’re an author of genre fiction, your community has the power to move more copies of your book than any major media outlet.

Don’t believe me? Romance novels alone comprise over 34% of the US fiction market, even though they rarely receive substantial coverage from major media outlets.

The most powerful people in any genre fiction community are the bloggers, reviewers, and writers who have the trust of the community. Authors in the sci-fi community might want to get covered in magazines like Uncanny, while romance novelists might want to target audiences who read RT Book Reviews.

Within the Storiad Outreach platform, genre fiction writers should focus on reaching out to:

  • Bloggers/Reviewers
  • Authors
  • Writers Associations

Obviously, these outlets should be relevant to your niche—don’t pitch a sci-fi blogger if you write romance.

2. Literary Fiction Marketing

Marketing literary fiction is in many ways the opposite of marketing genre fiction.

Whereas genre fiction authors need to connect with a number of smaller influencers, a literary fiction author needs coverage from massive, high-status outlets like The Times Literary Supplement or Publisher’s Weekly if they want to generate the hype necessary to sell copies.

This is because the literary fiction community doesn’t have many rigidly defined niches. Instead of having dozens of small niches with dedicated audiences and influencers, the literary fiction world is centered around a small collection of massive influencers.

Literary fiction marketing strategies should involve focusing If you are a literary fiction writer, you need to focus on these major reviewers and outlets. Any major publication with a Books section, any literary journal, and any traditional book reviewer needs to be targeted.

Within the Storiad Outreach platform, that means you need to target:

  • Book awards/festivals
  • Anything with the word “literary” in it
  • Publishing journals/blogs
  • Traditional media outlets

Literary fiction authors need status and recognition to stand out in their crowded, messy niche.

3. Nonfiction/Business Marketing

Nonfiction is an entirely different game than fiction when it comes to marketing, for a number of reasons.

First, fiction and nonfiction have completely different audiences. Fiction enthusiasts just enjoy reading.

Nonfiction readers are more like researchers. If a topic interests them, they are going to look for the best book on the market to educate them. They are less likely to read for its own sake.

Because of this, nonfiction books have the advantage of selling to a broader group of more passive readers. A book on men’s fitness, for example, may appeal to fitness enthusiasts who are not habitual readers.

Nonfiction writers, particularly business writers, also can monetize their books without selling many copies. Being seen as the expert on a topic—which is what happens when you write a book on it—is a great way to build a brand for whatever business you run.

For all of these reasons, nonfiction authors should focus on the following outlets:

  • Mainstream media publications (not necessarily publishing or books-focused)
  • Podcasts/talk shows
  • Local media (newspapers, local radio, etc.)

Nonfiction writers want to find people who are interested in the topic they’re covering, as opposed to marketing to voracious readers.

Make The Most Out Of Your Coverage Book Market Research

Using these targeting guidelines, you can launch your book’s initial PR campaign in under an hour. If you follow the principles laid out here and in our other articles, you will almost certainly land some coverage.

But will that coverage translate into book sales?

Many an author has run a well-targeted PR campaign, booked substantial coverage, and seen 0 books get sold.

Most of the time, this is because the author failed to put together a proper platform. They didn’t build an author website, or they neglected to promote their coverage within their own network.

Publicity is only another tool in the author toolbox—one that you absolutely need to win, but one that will not make you a bestseller on its own.

Stay tuned for our upcoming articles, where we’ll discuss how to turn publicity into book sales.