Selling Fiction Like Non-Fiction

selling-fictionMarketing a novel can be more challenging than a non-fiction book. You can make it easier by adopting some of the techniques used by non-fiction writers. Yes, they work for novels, too.

If you have a good hook, a press release can get you coverage in the media. Also, distributing press releases online allows you to get around the media gatekeepers and take your story directly to readers. Use some of the angles listed below.

And don’t forget about the bloggers! You may be able to get written about (or get reviews) on blogs that are visited by your potential readers. Some authors do blog tours, where they do interviews on several blogs over the course of a week or two.

Another possibility for a blog tour is to offer posts to bloggers. That way they don’t have to write anything. It creates some work for you, but it can be great exposure. Or just make it easy for bloggers to write about you by providing a good summary of your book, suggested questions they can ask in an interview, etc.

You may be able to find bloggers interested in your book through You can offer guest posts to bloggers, or review copies of your book, or work with bloggers to set up a blog tour. It’s free.

Tie your book to the news. Can you relate your novel to a hot news story? One client had a novel set in the oil industry that came out right when gas prices were spiking. He used that as a hook to land lots of radio interviews and create interest in his book.

Promote to people like your characters. What is the career of your heroine? Does she have a hobby? Are there other characteristics she shares with groups of people? People like to read about people like themselves, so the people who share her career, hobby or other interests and characteristics will want to read your book. Reach out to groups and websites where they congregate, and send media releases to the publications they read.

Use geographic ties. Media in your area will be interested in the fact that you are a local author. Where is your book set? People love to read books set in their town. Where is your hero from? People there might want to know about your book.

Create a survey or poll. During the 2008 presidential campaign, author Jessica James promoted her historical romance by creating a poll about which literary character best exemplifies the qualities of a U.S. President. (The winner was Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird.) You could take the poll via your website, blog or Facebook. Then send out the results in press releases. According to Jessica, the publicity drove a lot of book sales. Note that Jessica didn’t tie the poll directly to her book. She just used the poll about historical literary characters to bring attention to her historical novel. It doesn’t have to be exactly about the subject of your novel, just something that grabs attention.

Talk about the process of writing. It seems that everyone dreams of being a writer, and they are fascinated by what writers do. Write articles about how you research, a typical writing day, how you got published, etc. and publish them in print and online.

And don’t forget the tried-and-true. Promote your events. If you will be speaking, reading, signing or making any kind of appearance, let the media and your fans know with press releases and online announcements.

So what do you think? What non-fiction promotional techniques have you used to promote your novel?

Cathy Stucker writes about marketing, blogging, publishing and more at and Sign up for her free IdeaLady Insider newsletter at