Tag Archives: literature

Think You Know What Your Book is About? Think Again.

Moonday Madness

a blog for writers by a writer

What is your genre? What sells to your readers? How do you know?

One of the issues facing authors today is that we have the burden of much of the marketing of our product. Since many of us are not marketing majors, this can be a huge handicap. We need to find out who is reading our book and what they think our book is about before marketing it.

Little Red Riding Wolf by Jessica Aspen

Little Red Riding Wolf

For instance, my books are… well… hot. Spicy hot.

If you open Little Red Riding Wolf (on sale at Passion in Print for $3.99), or Snow and the Seventh Wolf you need to be prepared for sex. But does that mean I shouldn’t market it under paranormal? Can I enter it in the paranormal category of the romance contests, or do I need to stick to the erotic? Is it fair to say that the heat level is the most important part of the book?

Well the truth is, it’s not up to me. It’s up to the readers. They are the ones looking for books like mine and if they are looking in erotic and I market it only under paranormal, it’s going to get missed. And vice versa. What if the readers think it’s something else, like chick lit? Are they right?

Or is it that I’ve done a poor job of marketing?This is why you’ll see a big change in my covers. I was able to request a spicer cover for the second book in the Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods series Not that they didn’t offer spicy for the last one, but that’s another story.

Snow and the Seventh Wolf by Jessica Aspen

Take a look at the cover for Little Red Riding Wolf. Does it say erotic? Nope, I don’t think so. Does it say romance. No, not really. Does it say fairy tale and werewolves. Yes, I think we got that.

Now let’s look at Snow and the Seventh Wolf. Does it say erotic? Yes. Does it say romance? Yes.
Does it say fairytale and werewolves. No, not so much. It’s tough to get it all right.

Luckily my titles help. Little Red Riding Wolf says twisted fairy tale, and I hope Snow and the Seventh Wolf does too.

But how about your books? Do you know what genre they fall into?

This question came up this week as I was communicating with another author. She sees the word paranormal as meaning ghosts. A lot of people do. When I hear paranormal, I think of all kinds of things including psychics, ghosts, and supernatural creatures. But what  do readers think? When someone walks into a bookstore (or into the e-store) how do they know what to search for and how can they find your book. If you’ve tagged it as paranormal, but it’s really horror, will that help your readers find your book?

The key is to first know what others think your book is. Have people read it and let you know. Oh yeah, it’s paranormal romance. or Oh yeah, this is so hot, you’d better market it under erotic. or No, you are better off under the horror label, or women’s fiction, or YA. 

Others see our work much more clearly than we do. They are not bound by our preconceptions of what we intended when we wrote the book. They are more in touch with what readers will see.

Another good way to figure out how to label your book is to find other authors who have similar books. Is your book more like Stephen King? Or more like Sherrilyn Kenyon? Is it romance like Thea Harrison? or is it urban fantasy like Jeanne Stein? Find three authors who are similar to you in the same category and that is likely to be your category. Having trouble with this? Ask your friends who read the book. Use a survey and poll them. They’ll be sure to tell you, friends always do.

Why is any of this important?

You’ve written the book, and it’s either out there on sale, or you are trying to market it to agents and editors. Either way you are selling a product. You need to know who will be interested in that product so you can target your sales efforts. There is no reason or reward in marketing a horror novel to an agent or reader who is only interested in romance. Make sure you have the right audience for your book and the right book for your audience.

And then sell the hell out of it! I expect to see all of you rising stars on the NYT bestseller list any day now. I’m looking for you!

Do you know where your book fits? Does it matter to you? How do you sell it to others if you don’t understand it’s place in the world? What do you do to figure out where it fits?

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Filed under Little Red Riding Wolf, Moonday mania, Snow and the Seventh Wolf, writing organization

Is Paranormal Really Dead?

Thursday Bites

a paranormal blog

twilight saga boxed setIs paranormal romance a thing of the past? Since Twilight hit it big that is the scuttlebutt around the industry. But I think they’re wrong.

All genres and sub-genres have their ups and downs. And there are always naysayers who say the genre is dead when is starts to come off of it’s high. But rarely is the genre truly gone. There are always the core readers who are upset when they can’t find their genre of choice. And while the large print publishers may be backing off of buying paranormal, the readers really aren’t.

Yes, you lose the non-core readers. Those bandwagon jumpers who only read the hotest thing. They read Twilight and they are likely moving on to Fifty Shades of Gray at this very moment. But they weren’t the people who boosted paranormal in the first place. Readers like you and I did that. Readers who loved when they stumbled upon a romantic ghost story, or psychic investigators and ate those books up and demanded more. Those readers are still out there. And they are hungry for the next big thing in paranormal romance.

Hungry for something different.

Why has paranormal romance declined? Well, it’s natural for any thing to drop after hitting a high. The stock market does it. The economy does it. And trends do it. But that doesn’t mean that that trend is dead, it just means it is in a natural low. And that low doesn’t have to be extreme. Paranormal romance is still selling. It is still selling strong. The only people who are not buying it are the big print publishers. And they are still buying it. New authors like Joan Swan are still being given contracts, and selling well. joan swan's fever

What the big print publishers are doing is slowing down. And that’s fine. The genre is slowing down. And that’s fine. But dead? No, I don’t think so. Not when so many people are still reading and still buying.

Even genres like the cowboy romance aren’t dead. Publishers stopped putting their weight behind them and the readers and authors went underground. More self-publishing authors are doing very well with genres like cozy mysteries, and cowboy romances than we know of. Are they big news? No. And they won’t be, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. Authors are writing what they love and readers are buying what they love. It just means the big print publishers aren’t involved in the transaction.

That’s what happens when you only want large sales of individual titles or trends. When the sales are still viable for a genre, but not enormous, that’s when small publishers and self-publishers get a huge opportunity. An already hungry group of readers looking for more. And this group of readers is willing to look. Whether it’s for paranormal or gothic or urban fantasy there will always be a group of readers who want the supernatural in their romance. And I’ll keep dishing it up.

And if the wave starts to rise again? Well, grab your board, I’ll already be in the water!

What are you reading that isn’t popular? What do you look for? What is your favorite genre, sub-genre, sub-sub-genre? Do you read what is hot, or do you read what is not? Or both? What about paranormal? What would you like to see that hasn’t been done? What about the genre is boring you now? What about paranormal is hot?

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Filed under roots of paranormal romance, Thursdays Bite

Help! When do I write?

Sensational Saturday’s

a blog about whatever the bleep I want to write

Free Stock Photos - Blue Ballpoint Pens

I’m a goal setter. A go-to goal setter. If you peek back into January you’ll see my mega-list of goals. And there are a lot of little things, like, hmm, blog, blog and more blogs. But the most important thing on the list, the one thing I’m supposed to be doing before anything else, and the thing that actually might bring some real meaning to my chosen career is to WRITE.

Now don’t get me wrong. All the other stuff is important, but if I’m not writing, am I an author? If all I’m doing is promoting the one book or checking out everyone else’s books, can I call myself anything but a dabbler? A doodler? A dilettante?

Even if I’m sacrificing my writing for a good cause, even if it’s because my house needs attention, the fridge needs re-stocking, or the family desperately needs me, even then can I call myself an author? Or am I just a hobbyist?

Writing is the call. Writing is the thing that needs to be done.

Stock Image - Cow
That’s why my family is forced to eat nothing but PB&J’s till the cows come home, because Mama ain’t cooking. Mama’s writing.

Am I struggling to balance my life?

Yes. But I’m still writing.

Yes, this month things have gotten seriously in the way. My folks have needed way more help than usual. I took on a contest and that required a good deal of attention. And there are the usual suspects, the dirty bathrooms and the dog that needs walking.

But overall I am writing. And I’m on schedule. Or close to it.

My main goal for the beginning of this year was to write a novella. And I’ve done that. I have the rough draft of the sequel to Little Red Riding Wolf finished. Snow and the Seventh Wolf is in the middle of the polishing stage and I am on target to have it off to Passion in Print for the query stage by the end of March. Now all I need to do is fend off the children during spring break. Any ideas?

My next main goal is to edit BW (and rename it, I’m not happy with the title, hence the intitials). I’ve signed up for a Margie class in April, specifically to get the editing rolling. Fab 30, where Margie herself looks at your thirty pages. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it!

I’m working in April, so this will be a challenge, but like I said, the natives will have to eat more PB&J. Or maybe learn to cook for themselves. That’s an even better idea!

I have a ton of other things I want to get done. Re-vamping this website is high on my list. But don’t expect to see it done anytime soon. One thing I took away from my Bob Mayer class, one thing I took away from reading Stephen King’s On Writing, one thing I read over and over again from successful authors is…. WRITE!

Do you have trouble getting your goals accomplished? How do you fend off the natives when they need, need, need you? Can you turn off your phone and buckle down? What are your success strategies?

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Filed under Goal Setting, Sensational Saturday's, writing organization