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How Do I Promote My YA Fantasy Novel?
October 11, 2009 8:33 AM   Subscribe

I want to promote my Young Adult fantasy novel about Morgan le Fay on the web. The biggest audience should be young women and libraries; Wiccans, medieval re-enactors and King Arthur fans would dig it, too (I hope). How can I best promote the book myself? What sites and blogs should I contact? Are author's tours effective? What should I definitely put my efforts into and what's not worth my time?

I've written a fantasy novel about the childhood of Morgan le Fay which is coming out next year. My publisher probably doesn't have huge resources for promoting the book, and I want to do my part.

I've thought of doing a virtual author's tour, contacting blogs and websites for (a) young adult readers (b) Wiccans (c) medieval fans (d) King Arthur fans. What are the blogs and websites I shouldn't miss?

Also, here in Canada, publishers can get grant money to send authors on real live book tours. If I hit four or five major cities, how can I get the maximum buzz out of being physically there? It's not worth traveling to Calgary to sell ten books, unless I can leverage that somehow into radio interviews or ... what?

I'll work up some sort of website about the book and about Morgan le Fay, of course. What sort of content might be the most interesting to readers?

What have I missed?
posted by musofire to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
Who is your publisher? Are you print or digital? I have lots of answers, but they depend on the kind of book it is.
posted by headspace at 8:37 AM on October 11, 2009


Publisher is Tradewinds, in Vancouver. They do a lot of children's books. The book is coming out in print.

I'm guessing from my not-huge advance that the initial print run won't be huge either. I know they have connections in the US to sell to distributors there, so I'm aiming at a marketing strategy that covers the US (and the UK and Australia too).
posted by musofire at 8:49 AM on October 11, 2009


Is there an ebook version? If there is, I can give you a ton of suggestions. If there's not, you need to find out how to make there be one :)
posted by JoannaC at 8:56 AM on October 11, 2009


Here is one blog for you. You might find some others in the sites she links to.
posted by gudrun at 9:24 AM on October 11, 2009


I'm not a writer or publisher, but I a voracious reader. I read blogs by several authors that I like, and they frequently will recommend new books. I will definitely read something based on an author's recommendation. What about contacting other authors in your field/genre? I'm not sure what the protocol would be, but if you can get a big name or two to mention your book on their blog, that should help. Also, what about networking with your local librarians and the librarians in your home town? Lots of libraries have blogs these days. I also use Good Reads extensively, and they have author pages and promotional tools.

I like author sites that have additional info about the characters, links to historical info that might be applicable, excerpts from upcoming works, frequently asked questions, a site that looks nice, etc. Basically I'm one of those people who wants to know more!! about characters I love, so whatever you can fill in is great. Tamora Pierce, Naomi Novik, and Diana Gabaldon are authors that I think have a great web presence.
posted by min at 10:29 AM on October 11, 2009


I might consider a book like this as a gift for a younger friend, and on the book's website I would want to be able to read a short excerpt so I could judge reading level, quality, etc. And post it on Projects!
posted by dreamyshade at 1:14 PM on October 11, 2009


Okay, first thing you do is get postcards made and send one (with a handwritten note) to every Indie bookseller in Canada, to all the middle and high school libraries in your city, saying,

Hi, I'm a local author, I have this book coming out, I'd love it if you'd check me out at (your URL here.)

Handwritten note. Don't print the message.

It's too late to join Tenners, but Class of 2k10 is taking applications right now. Please email 2k10 class liaison, Janet Jox for more details at: jfoxtx AT aol DOT com.

Sign up for a 1 ARC Tour here: http://onearctours.blogspot.com/ (It's cost efficient, because you get the book back that you give them, and you're only reviewed by people who are already inclined to read your book.)

Both Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) and LibraryThing (www.librarything.com) will automate review book giveaways for you. All you do is put in your info, they publicize the giveaway, and randomly generate the winners.

You DO need a website. Make sure to include your house, your ISBN and your cover whenever you talk about your book. That includes on your bookmarks, on your postcards, on your website. Go to Amazon and set up your author page once your book is in the database.

On your website, link to Independent booksellers, as well as Amazon, Chapters, Indigo, B&N, etc.. If you don't, it ticks off the Indies and with a small book, you need their goodwill.

I have other, more specific marketing advice for YA and MG authors on my agent's blog. The most useful post will probably be this one, specifically about promotion and marketing.

However, this guide to creating your mailing list (for your postcards!) may also be of use to you.

Good luck and best wishes on your debut! And 1) leave space on your bookmarks to sign them. I had no idea people would want signed bookmarks, but there you go. 2) Don't freak out when your book isn't available in the bookstore near your house. Totally common, it's nothing personal.
posted by headspace at 1:25 PM on October 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Some people involved in Merlin (the UK TV show that's currently in its second season) fandom might be interested. There's a ton of Merlin communities on LiveJournal that might work. The first season has aired in the US, Canada, Australia etc. and it has a lot of non-UK followers who download it even though it isn't available in their region at the moment.
posted by Bunglegirl at 2:55 PM on October 11, 2009


You may not need to reinvent the wheel. Your publisher may already have a promotional game-plan for its "A" list authors which you can access if you contribute to the costs (for example, you buy the plane tickets and cover the hotel rooms), etc. In addition to staying on a well-trod path, you'll also be getting your publisher to "contribute" the overhead / infrastructure costs that are already sunk from its perspective into its promotional staff, relationships and retainers.
posted by MattD at 3:52 PM on October 11, 2009


Both The Well-Fed Self-Publisher (despite your not self-publishing the book) and Guerrilla Marketing for Writers will have many useful ideas for you.
posted by bryon at 4:40 PM on October 11, 2009


http://boingboing.net/ often talks about different YA Novels considering that one of the contributors is an YA Fiction writer himself.
posted by pyro979 at 5:49 AM on October 12, 2009


I's suggest getting in touch with your local BookCrossers. While you might have to give away a couple of copies for them to circulate, the word of mouth marketing it can generate can be excellent. Have a look at the website www.bookcrossing.com - if you search the forums for authors and bookcrossing there are some interesting posts.

Just go in humbly - you'd like to get some feedback and you've heard BookCrossing is a good place to find out what people think of your books. Feel free to mefimail me if you need any further suggestions.

Good luck!
posted by LyzzyBee at 6:18 AM on October 12, 2009


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