I’ve already covered writing to market in episode 174 and this post, but this is a big topic! In this post, I want to look at the concept of writing to market backwards. This post will be all about how to position a book you’ve already written into the market for better sales.
If you’d like to go more in-depth, this month’s workshop is all about writing to market. Find out more HERE.
Reminder: What is writing to market?
As I’ve talked about, writing to market is not a way of selling out just to make money. Writing to market simply means writing and marketing a book in a way that meets reader expectations for a particular genre.
There are really two parts to writing to market: the writing and craft of the book itself and the marketing and sales piece. The second part is where we’re going to focus.
LISTEN TO EPISODE 181 – HOW TO POSITION YOUR BOOK FOR BETTER SALES!
Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app!
So, You’ve Written a Book. NOW WHAT?
Ideally, you’ll be thinking about the market before you write and as you write. But that’s not always the case! If you find yourself in the position where you’ve written a book, you can still use the principles of writing to market to help sell your book better. It’s all about positioning.
Research Categories and Niches
I don’t mean big genres, like romance or sci-fi. Well. START there. But you need to go deeper. Go to the bigger categories on Amazon and then drill down into the smaller sub categories to find the exact place your book fits.
As an example, if someone says their book is romance, you’ll have a GENERAL idea that it’s a love story. But do you know how many kinds of romance novels there are? There are historical romances–and different kinds of historical romances at that! Cowboy romance. Clean romance. Romantic comedy. Paranormal romance.
While all of those fall under the big category of romance and fit into that umbrella, there are nuances to each. The more you’re clear about where your book fits, the more clear your readers will be and the more likely those readers will be to pick up your book.
The following books are ALL in the top 50 Romantic Comedy category:
The following books are ALL in the top 50 Science Fiction category:
The point being: the larger categories have way more diversity and are harder to see the unified themes and how/where your book fits in. DRILL DOWN.
There is always some pollution in categories. Meaning: authors trying to get more visibility by putting their books in the wrong categories. Choose categories that MAKE SENSE FOR YOUR BOOK.
Spend Time Reading in Your Niche
Once you find some smaller niches, spend a lot of time reading. Look for indie authors (if you’re publishing independently) are writing who have made the bestseller lists in one of the smaller categories. What do they have in common? What are the expectations?
Read until you know the genre well. This does take time, but if you do this, you’re much more likely to have your finger on the pulse of what the readers expect. You might find that the sub-niche you thought your book fit into isn’t correct at all. Either you need to change some things or find a different sub-genre to position your book.
Communicate Clearly with the Cover and Blurb
Readers are looking for clear signals. They may not REALIZE this is what they’re looking for. They might just think they’re looking for a particular kind of book, but not what exactly signals that kind of book.
We connect with things sometimes emotionally and subconsciously without even realizing it. Covers and blurbs need to send those clear subconscious (and also conscious) signals to readers. A book featuring a cover with a shirtless man in low-slung jeans and a cowboy hat signals a steamy cowboy romance. Where a clean, historical western romance might feature a couple in the clothing of the period, one of whom is a fully clothed cowboy.
We want to send the immediate signals that tell our readers what they’re getting. Then continue from the cover to the words in the blurb.
Warning: Don’t Trick People
I’ve sometimes seen authors try to shove a book that doesn’t really fit a market into one that’s selling well. That tends to backfire.
Make sure your book ACTUALLY fits where you’re trying to tell people it fits. Don’t fake it. Don’t get confused. This is where reading comes in again.
If you tell people your book is one thing through the way you position it, but deliver something else, you will get low reviews.
Give Readers the Experience They Want
If you’ve already written a book and want to sell more copies and connect with readers, send super clear signals as you position your book. Make sure it’s drawing in the right readers and then satisfying their expectations.
Wherever possible, consider all this before you publish. But it’s still possible after you’ve written a book without considering this to position your book best to make sales.
SIGN UP FOR APRIL’S WORKSHOP: WRITING TO MARKET
DATE: APRIL 15TH, 8PM CST
INCLUDES: Live workshop (~2 hours), replay, other helpful resources
- Why write to market doesn’t mean what you think it means
- How writing to market helps your writing craft
- Identifying your market and doing the right kind of research
- Mistakes people make in trying to write to market
- Positioning your book correctly for launch
- And more!!