Tips to Make Selling Your Fiction a Reality - Writer's Digest

Tips to Make Selling Your Fiction a Reality

Publish date:

Guest Post by Rob Eagar

Earlier this year, I heard a publishing executive say, "The best way to market your fiction is to write more fiction." I disagree with this idea, because it insinuates that you can ignore marketing your original book. Writing more stories does not a marketing plan make.

In a crowded marketplace, novelists must take steps to help their stories stand out from the others. Use the following tips to make selling your fiction a reality:

1. Enhance Your Author Website

Does your author website provide an environment for readers to experience your personality and story settings? Analyze your site to see if these elements are included:

a. Display captivating images - Utilize artwork from your book covers and other pictures to express the exotic aspects of your stories. Give glimpses of the world created by your story.

b. Write fascinating text - Become an "object of interest" to readers by describing your life and writings from a dramatic point of view. Avoid bland language. Instead, make an emotional connection with your website visitors. Get them to feel something. If your website is boring, some people will assume that your novel is boring.

c. Offer free content - Fiction lovers prefer author websites that provide free stuff, such as exclusive unpublished content, book explainers, tour updates, video trailers, author favorite lists, contests, and fan site listings. Does your website offer these elements?

2. Generate Effective Newsletters

You can use blogs, Twitter, and FaceBook to market your fiction. But, those are passive activities, because you're hoping people will choose to actively follow you. Thus, they’re in control of the marketing process – not you. That’s why it's important to balance your book marketing efforts with active methods - and one of the best is an opt-in newsletter.

"Opt-in" means people request you to stay in touch with them by giving you their contact information (either email or mailing address). Make your newsletter effective by keeping it reader-focused with articles, short stories, book previews, tour updates; latest news, etc. Write 80% of the total content to help or entertain the reader, then use the remaining 20% to promote your books. Do you send a regular newsletter? If so, is it reader-focused or all about you?

3. Connect Your Story to Current Events or a Cause

Sometimes, fiction can be easier to promote by taking a non-fiction approach. For instance:

a. Find the "thread of reality" in your story, and apply it to current events, social trends, unsolved mysteries, political situations, media headlines, etc. Every story revolves around a truth that most people can relate to. Use that truth to establish a basis of discussion about your novels.

b. Champion a cause that your main character deals with in the story, such as health issues, poverty, abuse, etc. Rally people around a cause, and many times, you can rally them around your book.

c. Ask yourself, "What would my central character look like in today's world?" Use that answer to show changes in society that would make for interesting media interviews or articles that draw attention to your books. What are the non-fiction themes in your novel that you can use to create media hooks, magazine articles, or speaking engagements?

Marketing fiction doesn’t have to be difficult. But, you have to do more than just write another novel. The key to success is to consistently promote your current stories as you write new ones. Use these tips to make your dreams of selling more fiction a reality.

About the Author

Image placeholder title

Rob Eagar is the founder of WildFire Marketing, a consulting practice that helps authors and publishers sell more books and spread their message like wildfire. He has assisted numerous New York Times bestselling authors and his new book, Sell Your Book Like Wildfire, will be published by Writer’s Digest in May, 2012. Find out more about Rob’s advice, products, and coaching services for authors at:


Plot Twist Story Prompts: Fight or Flight

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's fighting time.


Vintage WD: 10 Rules for Suspense Fiction

John Grisham once admitted that this article from 1973 helped him write his thrillers. In it, author Brian Garfield shares his go-to advice for creating great suspense fiction.


The Chaotically Seductive Path to Persuasive Copy

In this article, author, writing coach, and copywriter David Pennington teaches you the simple secrets of excellent copywriting.

Grinnell_Literary Techniques

Using Literary Techniques in Narrative Journalism

In this article, author Dustin Grinnell examines Jon Franklin’s award-winning article Mrs. Kelly’s Monster to help writers master the use of literary techniques in narrative journalism.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 545

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a cleaning poem.


New Agent Alert: Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services

New literary agent alerts (with this spotlight featuring Amy Collins of Talcott Notch Literary Services) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list.


5 Tips for Writing Scary Stories and Horror Novels

Bestselling and award-winning author Simone St. James shares five tips for writing scary stories and horror novels that readers will love to fear.


On vs. Upon vs. Up On (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use on vs. upon vs. up on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.