Publicity for Novelists: Opportunity Knocks Quietly, Listen Hard

Any publicist will tell you that drumming up publicity for a non-fiction author is a lot easier than doing so for a novelist. With the hundreds of thousands of novels published a year, there’s a lot of competition for very few media slots.

Think about it. How often do you see a novel covered in the news or a magazine? Very rarely. Non-fiction just lends itself to these venues, because it gives them ready made material that by nature, is meant to make our lives better somehow. If you’re a magazine editor for Vogue, would you rather feature the hottest new diet book which you can excerpt into an article called, Just a Spoonful of Sugar Will Make You Thin THIS MONTH or figure out how to work in yet another novelist’s book which has no bearing on your readers other than being the fourteen hundredth this year vying to be the next recommend?

Kind of a no-brainer, right? So, how does a fiction author get coverage? You need to start thinking like a publicist and use every opportunity that presents itself to promote your work. This doesn’t mean the hard sell and me, me, me, look at me! social media stance many authors take. It means keeping your eyes open for news tie-ins for your work.

For example, my sophomore novel, Dry as Rain, dealt with the subject of infidelity within a Christian marriage. If suddenly Brad Pitt is in the news because of being unfaithful to Angelina Jolie. (this is just an example, I have no gossip), suddenly the public becomes interested in relationships that seemed perfect, but behind closed doors were anything but. Or say another famous couple has a marriage that seemingly ends out of nowhere but we learn that things had never been quite right (think of Amy Grant some years ago). A window of opportunity opens that gets the press interested in a specific subject and you can jump through that window by pitching non-fiction articles on the subject. 10 Marriages that Shocked the World When They Ended, or whatever. Hopefully you get the idea.

Winning prestigious (or even not so prestigious awards) is also a good way to get media interested. I learned a few days ago that Dry as Rain was a Christy finalist. What was the first thing I did? Okay, call my friends. But the second was to alert local media. Winning or finalling gives them a news angle or a REASON to cover you. Take advantage.

In the world of publicity, be ready for lots and lots of no’s and being ignored completely. You cast your widest net and if you get one yes out of a dozen no’s, consider yourself lucky.

The thing with publicity is to keep that little snowball rolling, day after day, month, after month, year after year until one fine day, you cause an avalanche.

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Gina Holmes is the founder of Inspire a Fire and Novel Rocket. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW Religion bestseller. Her sophomore novel,  Dry as Rain, released in 2011. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. To learn more about her, visitwww.ginaholmes.com.