Blogger: Michelle Ule
Filling in for Wendy Lawton who is out of the office.
Yesterday I discussed ideas about how to investigate book marketing conditions before you start writing from the comfort of your own home.
Today I’m taking you on the road.
Or at least, outside of your personal family world.
4 Places to Research Sales Potential Before You Start Writing
1. Bookstores and Goodreads; Amazon, too.
Find out what readers like, what they’re interested in and more importantly what they’re buying.
Of course you want your idea to be The.Next.Big.Thing and/or at least at the front of the wave of the newest rage.
You can’t really do that by imitating what’s popular now.
You need to examine the current market and project the direction it’s headed.
What? You’re not a prophet?
Look at the types of things that are selling and what they represent as “felt needs.”
How are books marketed? What are the marketers themselves highlighting and could that relate to the project you have in mind?
2. The calendar and perennial favorites
If you write historical fiction in particular, pay attention to the next big anniversary.
President Abraham Lincoln died 150 years ago on April 15. It’s too late now to write a project that might capitalize on that, but look at the calendar two and five years out. What’s coming up?
WWII projects are perennial favorites and anniversaries are well marked. 2015 is the 70th anniversary of the ending of the war.
Too late to write something about that, but the 75th is only five years away.
Given how many WWII novels are written each year, you probably can’t go wrong with the war as a setting–but find a new way to tell all those old stories or your project won’t be viable.
3. Social Media and Strangers
Not necessarily the same people, but asking people what they like to read can give you a sense of the types of books that might sell.
My Zumba class is full of readers always interested in sharing books. I got asked today what I’m reading, and I turned the question back on her.
Some of the best books I’ve read have been recommended by women in their underwear.
Social media, of course, is another avenue. You could poll readers or friends, to see what subject they would like to read about.
4. Traveling out of Your Comfort Zone
I do a lot of research while traveling.
I always investigate what’s left of bookstores in airports and I linger over independent bookstore windows while on vacation.
I crane my neck to see what people are reading on the plane across the aisle (made more difficult by ebooks, grrr).
If I sit beside someone reading an actual book, I ask them about it.
I was surprised at Gatwick Airport to not recognize most books on the rack and to see old classics stacked on the shelf. It never occurred to me to read The Old Man and the Sea while flying over the ocean.
Marketing involves finding new ways to sell your product–stories. While few writers are marketers in real life, most know a lot about books and reading.
Before you spend months/years writing a manuscript, make sure it has a place–even just a niche–in the very busy marketplace outside your life.
You might consider asking the person sitting next to you on a plane.
A friend of mine did once, describing my Navy SEAL story. Her seatmate was the buyer for military exchanges on the east coast, and got very excited about the idea.
See? You never know.
Where do you get your best sense of what types of stories/books sell?
4 places to investigate marketability before you write your book. Click to Tweet
Got a good idea for a book? Check it out in these four places. Click to Tweet