What kind of books do you like?
Are you a historical novel fan? If so, there’s a very good chance you don’t object to going to museums. The opportunity to look at old stuff that tells a story? Bring it on!
Then again, maybe it’s sci-fi and fantasy that draws you in almost every single time. In which case, I imagine you’ve at least thought of attending a Star Trek, Star Wars, comic book or similar convention.
(And you probably have at least an inkling of who you’d dress up as too.)
Perhaps you’re all about literary fiction. That one might be a bit harder to peg when it comes to preferred activities. But I don’t think it would be too far-fetched to imagine you at library book readings by local authors. Or shopping at someplace like Whole Foods. Maybe Trader Joes?
Stereotyping or not, it's accurate to say that every genre comes with its own associations. Savvy authors don’t just keep that in mind.
They explore it to its most profitable extent.
It’s obvious that each genre is associated with certain interests… the promotion of true love and fulfillment (romance), intense adventures (thrillers), mental tests (mysteries), etc.
In a free society – outside of school, anyway – nobody forces us to buy books that bore us. Instead, we pursue what we’re passionate about.
So, as an author, the key to making money is to determine and harness that passion.
Successful authors know who they’re selling to.
If you’re going to successfully sell your published novels, then you need to know your audience. (Yes, this is the same advice you’ve heard a few times before now. But it remains just as true, which is why it’s worth repeating.)
Successful marketers, and therefore successful authors, are the ones who know their customers inside and out: their likes and dislikes... how they best express themselves... which trends they follow... and how to get their attention in the first place.
To a large degree, that boils down to determining where they like to hang out – both in person and online.
I’m not promising you that all that exploration will mean you hit it out of the park every time.
I’ll admit I’ve failed a time or two myself. I usually do quite well with my historical fiction novels at Revolutionary War events. But my fantasy fiction fell flat when I rented a booth at Faeriecon several years ago.
As it turned out, faerie lovers do indeed go there. They just don’t go there for books. They’re much more focused on the apparel.
In the same way, I tried taking out ads on a talk radio station for my political thrillers. I spent a lot of money on them too, only for nothing to come of it. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
There's a lot of trial and error, testing and failing when it comes to successful book marketing. And, again, that applies to most traditionally published authors as well. There are simply no guarantees in this business.
But there are ways to increase your chance of going from completely unknown to making money. They just take time, effort and commitment to properly pursue.