What’s the Big Deal With Genre?

In Author’s Academy we teach more in-depth on genre, covering genre in general and the different types of genres. The following is taken from but does not include all of the material on genre in general.

 First, we need to explain Genre. It is defined in Wikipedia as: A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or even (as in the case of fiction) length. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, often with subgroups.

 In the Academy we cover the three main Genre (Children, Young Adult, and Adult) along with their subgroups.

 Principle

 Discovering your genre will be a valuable aid not only in marketing, but in the writing and publishing of your book.

 Don’t brush this aside. When I first began writing I didn’t even know what genre was, let alone which one I was under. At best I knew that I was writing fiction.

 As time went on I began understanding the meaning and importance of genre. The more I learned, the better my writing and my marketing.

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 Tip #1 – Take a close look at your writing. It is probably more than a single genre. And that is good!

 Tip #2 – Identify all the genres your book would fit within.

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 Example

In my case I write both fiction and non-fiction. In the fiction arena my genres have been American History, and ancient history. But my writing genres are also: Adventure, Romance, and even some Mystery.

My non-fiction works have been on American History, Bible History, Politics, and How To.

 Application

Identifying your genres will be crucial when you get around to marketing your books. It will also help you in determining such things as your audience.

 For example, when launching an ad (say Adwords or Facebook) you’ll want to define your potential audience based on the genre. That is only one factor, but it is an important factor. You don’t want to market your book to people who aren’t likely to read it.

 As stated in the Principle it also affects your writing and publishing. In writing, knowing your genre keeps you on mark. Meanwhile in publishing, it helps you in selecting your publisher, unless you are self-publishing.

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R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.

Virtual Book Tour: What is it?

We have all heard of book tours where you contact a bookstore, library, etc. and arrange to spend approximately four hours (one session) autographing your book that someone buys. Although some say it has lost its effectiveness book tours are still around.

But what are Virtual Book Tours?

In the next few minutes I will give you an overview.

A Virtual Book Tour is:

In a traditional book tour you might spend hours driving from city to city to promote your book. But in a virtual book tour you make “virtual” appearances not at bookstores but on blogs, podcasts, websites and internet radio. These tours may last from 1 to 4 weeks.

It is an excellent way of promoting your book, your name, and your sales. Plus it will help your Amazon rankings.

So Exactly What is a Virtual Tour?

Well, a well-rounded tour can include any or all of the following:

  1. Book giveaways
  2. Book review
  3. Excerpts from your book
  4. Guesting on other blogs
  5. Interviews
  6. Guest appearance on radio
  7. Guest appearance on podcasts
  8. Social media contest
  9. Videos that are posted by blogs
  10. plus more

Remember, the more you include the more interest your audience will have in checking out your tour appearance. And it will be more fun than sitting at a table waiting and hoping for someone to stop by and purchase your book. (One of the drawbacks of traditional book tours is you may sit for hours and none or few people stop by. It can be a real downer. But a virtual tour is not that way.)

You have options not only regarding the ingredients of your tour but who does the booking. Search the internet and you will find a good number of marketing and PR services who offer booking services. I don’t know of any that are free, so find one that fits your budget.

Or DIY – Do It Yourself!

I am not going to cover the various services because I don’t know your needs nearly as well as you know. But I will show you a simple plan not original with me. I drew inspiration from another blogger Chris Robley, however I expanded on it.

Special Note

A virtual book tour is like a traditional book tour in that you are casting a wide net. The wider the net the more likely you will be to land a few fish. But to do this requires that new word: Targeted. In other words, just as a fisherman targets a particular place to do his fishing you need to target where the tour will take place.

That requires research. Visit the potential blogger, podcaster, or reviewer and learn who they are, what kind of books they are interested in promoting, who is their audience, and more. Then when you contact them show them that you understand their needs and their audience needs.

Warning!

Just because you have done the research and properly contacted the people does not mean that they will be interested. Some may not write you back and others may send a “no thank you,” but it would be wrong to take this personally. Chalk it up to a learning experience and don’t remove them from future consideration for your next book. Do embrace the ones who are interested.

Getting Started:

  • Do Your Research of your targeted book blogs, podcasts, radio programs, etc. Make sure they are interested in literary works and, in particular, your topic. Put these potential visits in a list (some people use a spreadsheet, but use whatever works best for you).
  • Get to Know Them. Visit and make appropriate comments on blogs, etc. Keep detailed notes on their characteristics (not all are the same).
  • Book Your Tour. This is very important: Do not use mass emails in seeking to book your tour. Write to each separately keeping your request short, to the point, and respectful. This is a great time to show them that you are familiar with their blog, podcast, etc. And perhaps most important convey to them why you are a perfect fit for their audience.
  • Prepare! Know your subject.If you can arrange for the questions and answers before your appearance, do so. Most will accommodate you or suggest it themselves because it makes them, as well as you look good.
  • Stand. If you are talking to someone experts recommend (and I have found it to be true) that you think better when on your feet.
  • Keep emotions in check! I have done interviews where I felt I really flopped and I have done interviews where I thought I nailed it. The idea here is not to get overly down or up. Once it is done it is done. Move on!
  • Pray! This is listed last only because it is most important. Pray before, during, and after. If you know Christ as your Savior He is interested in your success – especially if you are doing what He wants you to do. So Pray.

But don’t end there. If you have your own blog write articles about your book. Make use of Social Media and enjoy yourself.

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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. Also subscribe to his blog.

Today’s Topic: Your Audience

In previous blogs I discussed first steps in learning to write. The following blog is brief but important.

Why?

We can prepare and use all the tools available, but if we are writing for the wrong audience it will be to no avail. We need to know!

YOUR AUDIENCE

 This can be a bit tricky. Especially for new authors. If you have previously written books then you already have something to gauge who your audience is.

So there are three principles:

  1. New Authors:

    Make use of reviewers. Who are they, especially those with a positive view. When you get someone to review your books keep a list of who they are. Learn their email address, their blog, and anything else.

  2. Established Authors:

    Review your sales data to see who buys your books, and who reviews your books. If you have your own store your ecommerce reports will tell you this. But if all your sales are on other sites, say Amazon, then you can also receive stats from them. Amazon allows you to join Amazon Central where you can track your sales.

    Take advantage of these services provided by Amazon and other sites. Learning these stats will help you to learn more about your audience.

  3. All Authors: Look at other authors in your genre. Who is in their audience?

    If you know the genre then it is easier to find authors. Use Google or other search engines. Discover who the other authors are and who their audiences are.

In summary, the principle is to make use of reviews, sales, and audiences of other authors. Doing that will enable you to get at least a glimpse of your audience, which in turn will enable you to see what they like as readers.

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Tip #1 – Make a list of audience possibilities.

Tip #2 – Then narrow the list down until you have gotten it as refined as possible.

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 Example

When I first began writing, I thought my audience would be men. After all I am a man and I was writing historical fiction which included adventure. But actual sales tipped in the direction of women. While I now market to both sexes, I see women as my primary audience, although I write for both.

Application

Don’t check out your audience and then forget it. Periodically check it out again. Then apply that knowledge to your marketing, but don’t forget the actual writing and publishing.