Guest blogger: Dineen A. Miller
Nothing like a book contract to make you suddenly aware of the need to think about marketing. Before the release of my first novel, The Soul Saver, I started questioning if current marketing trends in the Christian publishing industry were working. The big picture out there can be quite overwhelming, like a megastore with more choices in products than I have years to live (don’t ask how old I am).
My questions put me on a journey that’s now led to multiple areas of intentional marketing—intentional as opposed to just doing what everyone else is doing. With every marketing avenue we consider, we need to ask why and will it be effective for our particular book/brand/ministry.
One avenue of intentional marketing is something a group of my cohorts and I are calling “Rooted Marketing.”* Rooted marketing refers to planting seeds in your stories to be harvested right before, during and after your book launch as marketing tools. As you’re writing your story, you are literally building in settings, hobbies, causes, interests and anything unique that you can later use to promote your book.
From these “roots” you can write nonfiction articles for submission to magazines, blogs and other sources looking for special interest pieces. You can even start getting speaking engagements based on these topics.
For example, one author shared recently how her research for her book turned into a series of articles for her local newspaper. Another author built in a common theme of a quilt pattern through her book series and included the pattern (one she designed herself) at the back of each book. And still another author recently shared with me that she loved writing home and hearth stories because this had been a big area of enjoyment in her own life. Suddenly we realized she had unlimited opportunities to write into her stories traditions and celebrations that had meant so much to her, and she could give her readers step by step planning instructions to do the same kinds of events and traditions in their own homes. She had not only pulled a theme from the stories she felt so passionate about, she’d created her brand and an ongoing platform from which to promote her fiction.
Rooted Marketing isn’t necessarily “new.” Authors are pulling aspects from their novels all the time to reach more readers and sell more books through online promotions, non-fiction articles, and speaking. But why not start thinking it through before you even start writing your next story?
What can you build into that budding novel that can be a handy marketing tool? Can you even produce articles or downloads while you’re researching and writing it? Imagine finishing your next contracted novel and already having several marketing tools harvested from your marketing garden, ready to use to promote that book when it releases. All that research that goes into making your novel realistic can be put to good use later.
There are so many different ways to market today that we have to be intentional about what we choose. Rooted marketing is like preparing the soil for those seeds so when your book comes out, you’re ready to reap a harvest.
What can you weave into your story right now and build upon later to market that book of yours?
(Find out more at our ACFW Conference Continuing Education class, “How to Market Your Fiction Like a Non-fiction Pro” by Rachelle Gardner, Kathi Lipp, Dineen Miller and Jim Rubart.)
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Dineen Miller is co-author of the blog Spiritually Unequal Marriage, and the book Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage (Regal, 2011).
Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.[ Next Post → ] [ ← Previous Post ]