Iditarod Nights by Cindy Hiday, a romance and action-adventure novel set in Alaska, launches April 14, 2020. This novel is the second title in Ooligan’s Library Writers Project collection, which is published through a partnership with Multnomah County Library, and it will be the first romance published by Ooligan. It’s wonderful to blaze a trail, but what does this mean in practice? How can you market a book with no prior contacts and little experience in the genre?
Research. Find out what’s happening in the market of your genre. What’s popular right now? What are reviewers saying about best sellers and your comp titles? Who are the reviewers? The Iditarod Nights team did two separate research projects: one on best sellers within the genre and one on our comp titles. Both of these projects helped us learn a bit more about the genre, what reviewers typically say, and who is doing the reviewing. This information helped us add to our contact list and gave us more options for potential blurbers and reviewers.
Think outside the box. Sometimes the best contacts aren’t within the same genre—or even the book industry. For Iditarod Nights, we spent time researching contacts in Alaska, in the travel industry, and in the mushing industry, in addition to romance bloggers and local Pacific Northwest outlets. Who would have known that there was an NPR podcast about the Iditarod Race called the Iditapod? Digging in unusual places can lead you to great resources. Think about what makes your title unique. What other categories and industries can you reach out to? You might be surprised by who could be interested in promoting or selling your title.
Keep chipping away at it. Something I learned during the marketing process is that it is a process. Some items, like your contact list, might never feel finished, and that’s okay. Your ideas and moments of inspiration for your title will fluctuate. Perhaps taking a break from marketing efforts and focusing on another aspect of the publishing process will bring a surge of new ideas. Maybe a new member of your team will have a brilliant idea that didn’t occur to you. The possibilities are limitless, and your amazing marketing ideas should feel that way as well.
Ask a colleague. You never know what a fresh set of eyes will accomplish. I’ve been so buried in a project that I could only see the next task right in front of me, and it seemed like I had no energy to even begin thinking outside the box. I felt like I needed to focus on each task and move on to the next. Sometimes the blinders are too strong. Sound familiar? A peer within the field might be able to see a blind spot in your list, provide some expertise in the genre, or even give you a valuable contact. Maybe your coworker down the hall is a huge romance fan or has a friend who’s an up-and-coming writer in the genre. A few of my colleagues at Ooligan had multiple suggestions for how I could reinvigorate my marketing efforts; I just had to ask for their help. You never know what connections you’ll find.
I’m learning more and more about marketing a romance title every day, but these tiny lessons have helped me the most so far. Best of luck on your marketing efforts, and keep an eye out for Iditarod Nights next month!