Writers Selling To Writers and the Fantasy Genre – Guest Post…

writers-group

One of the worst marketing techniques I’ve seen continually practiced on the Internet is writers selling to writers. You know the drill. A new writer joins a writers group and immediately starts talking about their book, making not very subtle attempts to convince people to buy.

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The result is that the other writers in the group ignore the spammy posts or even remonstrate with the errant author and explain that that isn’t what they formed the group for. More often than not, the attempts will continue more subtly while the author in question wonders why they don’t get any sales.

What’s going wrong here is that although writers are also readers, they are usually not in the market for their next read when they are participating in a group that focuses on discussing marketing techniques or writing craft. Their mindset is not on ‘buy’. For that, marketing attempts need to be directed at readers.

However, the unsubtle methods don’t fare much better in reader groups, who are constantly bombarded with authors infiltrating with a single purpose in mind; to sell their books. Readers have become jaded over time and have little patience with these sales attempts.

Good advice has been offered on the Internet many times. Choose an interest group who are likely to want to read what you write. Participate in the group, don’t spam. Talk about well-known books in your genre and make friends.

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Yes, it takes time. Yes, you have to be genuine. If you’re not prepared to do that, stick with Twitter tags and paid or free advertising for your marketing efforts. If your book still isn’t selling, well, maybe that author group might have had helpful suggestions about things like bookcovers and book descriptions that you should have paid attention to.

One genre has been found to be an exception to the usual rule that nobody ever sells books to authors in their genre. Fantasy. I don’t mean Fantasy Romance or Young Adult genres, which have a very different demographic audience, but old school Fantasy with quests and dragons and such. Readers who recognise words like ‘Amber‘ and ‘Tiers‘ and sigh in pleasant memory at mention of The Lord of the Rings or who couldn’t read the doorstop books of The Song of Ice and Fire fast enough.

While these reader/authors don’t like getting spammed any more than anyone else, a very high percentage of the readers in the genre are also writers. There is something about the type of imaginary experience of a story about riding dragons or questing to save the world that brings out the potential writer in fans of the genre.

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That still leaves the other half of the readership who won’t be found in author groups. The trick for authors in this genre is to work out how to get their books in front of the target audience, especially in these days when the booksellers throw our books into the same categories as the Young Adult and Romance novels that might have some Fantasy elements. While there are some exceptions, most of the readers of Tolkien, P.J. Farmer, Weis & Hickman, McKillip, McCaffrey, Martin and Zelazny are not the same readers who like Galbaldson, Cass, Carriager or Meyer. So, just finding a group or forum labelled Fantasy requires a little further investigation.

Regardless of your genre, your task is to get your book in front of readers. The right readers. Targeting writer groups is a waste of an author’s time and time is a resource. Think about where you go to find books when you look for something to read, then project your goals to work out how to get your books in front of people like yourself, who will be looking in the same places. This is a much better use of your time than trying to sell to other authors who are just as interested in selling their book to you.

Jaq D Hawkins

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15 thoughts on “Writers Selling To Writers and the Fantasy Genre – Guest Post…

  1. I completely agree with this, I am just about to publish my first book, and feel like I’m not reaching fans of the fantasy genre. I run bi -monthly meetings, and do promotional work, again I have made a lot of friends in the writing commmunity.

    Just recently I have been thinking have I taken the right path, I know a few authors that haven’t published a book but are very vocal in competitions, and write short stories. I don’t knock them, as it is wonderful what they have achieved. Again my question is ‘Was that the path I should have taken? Or writing a book and publishing it without the build up of your reputation in the community the best way?

    Only time will tell. Thank you for the insight, I will try not to spam my fellow writers with buying my book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s tricky for us Fantasy writers. Not only do we share the woes of all indie writers, but the category Fantasy has come to be in common use on two very different genres with completely different demographics. Plus there are a lot of us so one of the most valuable things you can do, find reviewers for your kind of Fantasy, will meet with overflowing Kindles. It’s not insurmountable but can take time to build a reputation within a large crowd.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lmao, you didn’t mention Mine! Haha, I couldn’t resist. Having said that, I know what you mean, it is why I haven’t bothered joining groups. I was concerned that that might happen. I don’t want to be “one of those” nor do I wish to be bombarded. I really appreciate your insight, it’s greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve got some great information from writer’s groups, like which websites to advertise on to get actual sales and where not to waste money on advertising, or participating in events to promote a specific genre. The trick is to interact as colleagues, not potential customers. Everybody mentions their books sometimes, but I make a point of NOT mentioning my books most of the time in author groups and when I do it’s usually just a reference to what genre I write if it’s relevant to a conversation. If someone asks, I’ll give information but once is enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Very interesting and thoughtful, definitely written from experience. I appreciate the input. I currently haven’t money I can throw at advertising so I’m connecting with many and doing what I can. Thank you for responding. I was hoping my haha moment wouldn’t be a downer, I had to, it’s me. Many have invited me to groups that writers belong to and who have great books to read, but I really don’t have money to join. Take care, hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to talk again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The groups I’ve joined are on Facebook, no charge. I’ve also mostly advertised through free sites. One of the valuable things I’ve learned from the experience of others are which are most effective and which of the pay sites are just a waste of money.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I imagine as with any “product” if you will, there are always those ready to rake advantage & or your money without providing anything in return. I’ll have to investigate FB further see what I can find. Appreciate your forthrightness on this tho. Seriously.

            Liked by 2 people

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