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kayelle_allen
June 19th, 2007, 10:14 PM
Have you ever been asked for your marketing hook and intended readership? Was your reaction the same as mine? A blank stare, a few blinks, and a flurry of emails sent to everyone I knew who'd ever been published. LOL

Here are some of the things I've learned since. Authors, please feel free to chime in! This is a wide area for coverage and your feedback is valuable to us all.

MARKET HOOK

Basically, this is a tool that creates AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Let me demonstrate by pointing you to an author website that uses it well, my friend Shayla Kersten (http://www.shaylakersten.com/index2.htm). Here is her welcome page.



This ain't your momma's romance novel!

From the torn bodice novels to no bodice at all, erotic romance kicks up the spice. Once upon a time, all the good stuff in a romance stayed behind closed doors but erotic romance opens the bedroom, or the living room, the bathroom... Well, you get the picture.

No euphemisms, no mincing words, today's erotic romance takes you through the trials, tribulations and sexual escapades of your hero and heroine. Or your hero and hero!

So if you like your romance hot, this is the place to start!

Welcome to the Erotic Romances of Shayla Kersten!

A hook is what entices the reader to take a step further. A hook for a novel may be as simple as a tag or blurb. Or it could be a phrase, such as Ellora's Cave's line, "Feed your Romantica craving".


INTENDED READERSHIP / TARGETED AUDIENCE

Simply put, this is who you believe is going to buy this book once it's published. Just as you wouldn't submit a manuscript about racecar drivers to a cookbook publisher, your publisher doesn't want to market their books to the wrong demographic either. They want to know who you think will be the main buyers. Publishers want to make money, so the more you know about who your target audience is, the more they can help you reach it.

Ask yourself these questions:

What are the themes of your book?
If you were going to promote it on the yahoo groups, which groups would you choose?
What age bracket suits this book?
Does it take place in a specific area (like Wyoming, NYC, Asia) where readers in that proximity would take notice?
Is it a niche genre (like Science Fiction) which would interest a specific group of readers?


NOTE: Your readership will determine your marketing slant. Again, think cookbooks and racecars. If you've written a cookbook for tailgate parties to NASCAR races - then you have a crossover genre book.

I write Science Fiction Romance - so there are two genres. Tack on Erotica and you get an entirely new crowd. My books also involve a political system, deal with genetics, have gay characters, and champion those whose rights are being trampled because they are different. People who are interested in these themes are my targeted readership.

Figuring out who finds your work interesting is part of the entire marketing package. Knowing where to focus your attention will give you a stronger ability to reach the people who want your book. And that will result in sales!


dedicated to my crit buddy Jerry Race

Shayla Kersten
June 19th, 2007, 10:22 PM
Awww, Kayelle! I'm thrilled to get praise from you on marketing! I've been agonizing over my cover letter hook for my Kensington proposal!

And have a ton of ideas for our joint project!

Hugs,
Shayla

kayelle_allen
June 19th, 2007, 10:28 PM
Now that's good news. :)

Karenne
June 19th, 2007, 11:48 PM
You know what Kayelle...you are right. I remember that site because of what you quoted there. I look at a TON of web sites and remember that one specifically!

It is well done and written to catch my attention and kept it. I don't remember what the site looks like or anything else (no offense Shayla..wink) but I remember the author's name and that paragraph!

Good choice! :balloon:

Shayla Kersten
June 20th, 2007, 08:31 AM
No offense, Karenne! As long as you remember my name! *cackle*

Shayla

kuroisama
June 20th, 2007, 12:27 PM
Ask yourself these questions:
What are the themes of your book?
If you were going to promote it on the yahoo groups, which groups would you choose?
What age bracket suits this book?
Does it take place in a specific area (like Wyoming, NYC, Asia) where readers in that proximity would take notice?
Is it a niche genre (like Science Fiction) which would interest a specific group of readers?
NOTE: Your readership will determine your marketing slant. Again, think cookbooks and racecars. If you've written a cookbook for tailgate parties to NASCAR races - then you have a crossover genre book.

I write Science Fiction Romance - so there are two genres. Tack on Erotica and you get an entirely new crowd. My books also involve a political system, deal with genetics, have gay characters, and champion those whose rights are being trampled because they are different. People who are interested in these themes are my targeted readership.

Figuring out who finds your work interesting is part of the entire marketing package. Knowing where to focus your attention will give you a stronger ability to reach the people who want your book. And that will result in sales!

See? There's that homework again. Can't I just write the book and let that be it?

I joined a chat waaaaaay back when I first wanted to be published and one lady said the easy part was writing the book. I sat there thinking, no that was the hard part because it took me forever to get a story I felt comfortable submitting. You know what, I want those days back. Ignorance is truly bliss. I'm so distracted with promoting this first book that I'm not able to concentrate on finishing my third.

I'll be happy when 10 July rolls around. Then I can let word-of-mouth take over. If I hook enough people with this first one, then promoting all the ones that follow should be a little easier, right? Say yes or I'm blaming my insomnia and writer's block on you.

Karenne
June 20th, 2007, 01:30 PM
No offense, Karenne! As long as you remember my name! *cackle*

Shayla

(blushing) I didn't know how to say that. I worked on that post for quite a while and finally just gave up and put it up. Thank you for taking it right!:balloon:

kuroisama
June 20th, 2007, 02:29 PM
(blushing) I didn't know how to say that. I worked on that post for quite a while and finally just gave up and put it up. Thank you for taking it right!:balloon:


Oh thank God, I'm not the only one. It'll take me forever to post just because I'm reading it and re-reading it and correcting stuff and adding smilies et al just to make sure people don't take what I wrote the wrong way. It's annoying as all but nercessary. I had a bad experience with chat rooms (live chat rooms) back when chat rooms were still new. Yeesh, and that wasn't even that long ago. Technology is growing and changing in leaps and bounds.

I hate phones for the same reason. Unless it's with someone I know well (and who knows me and my "unique"--read cynical--tendencies), I absolutely abhor talking on the phone. You'll never get me to call someone I don't know just to say "hi". It won't happen. I avoid tech support and pass on jobs that require me to use a phone, too. I've been told many times that I come across as snotty. I don't mean to, it's just the way I talk. I blame my mother.

Case in point, this post took me 20 minutes. ;P

Jude Mason
June 20th, 2007, 02:37 PM
Kayelle, yup, more homework, but when you said:


Have you ever been asked for your marketing hook and intended readership? Was your reaction the same as mine? A blank stare, a few blinks, and a flurry of emails sent to everyone I knew who'd ever been published. LOL

I had to laugh. Man I felt like you must have been looking in the window at me. Knowing who your target audience is, well it's just huge. It's also something I don't think a lot of authors think about. They do the writing, and then they do chats, but many don't seem to hit the right places to chat.

I do have a question. I write in a variety of genres and cross genres, which I love and it never gets dull. But, am I loosing readers because of it? I mean when I write a f/f western, I know that not everyone is going to want to read it. Same with the m/m contemp, or the sci-fi erotica, or the shapeshifters, or the couple into spankings. How would you go about marketing if you had such a wide variety of books out there?

Jude

Jude Mason
June 20th, 2007, 02:39 PM
Shayla, you have an awesome website. (And that hunk in the corner ain't half bad either)

Hugs
Jude

kayelle_allen
June 20th, 2007, 09:38 PM
See? There's that homework again. Can't I just write the book and let that be it? ... If I hook enough people with this first one, then promoting all the ones that follow should be a little easier, right? Say yes or I'm blaming my insomnia and writer's block on you.


Ignorance truly is bliss. :) I just watched Miss Potter, a film about the life of Beatrix Potter, the childrens book author. We had it so easy compared to her, yet she managed to make a fortune (for those times). Word of mouth and a great product was what did it for her. You'd think with the internet and all the modern conveniences we have it would be a snap. You'd think...

Well, sorry, my friend. But I tell you what. SleepMD works really great. ^_^

Shayla Kersten
June 20th, 2007, 09:41 PM
Shayla, you have an awesome website. (And that hunk in the corner ain't half bad either)

Hugs
Jude
Thank you, Jude! It's a pain to keep up but you have to have one! Maybe when I'm rich and famous, I can pay someone to do it!

Hugs,
Shayla

kayelle_allen
June 20th, 2007, 09:41 PM
Case in point, this post took me 20 minutes. ;P

I can't even send out an email if I know there might be a misspelled word. If I'm not sure and don't have a dictionary, I'll use another word. *_* In fact, the word misspelled looked wrong to me so I spell-checked it.

My cell phone has 42 missed messages from my husband alone - I never answer the blamed thing. And forget knowing what time it is. I gave up wearing a watch a few years ago. It's on my pc, the phone, the cell phone... why do I need to strap a timepiece to my body as well?

Ok. Shutting up now. Time: 8 minutes. :unsure:

kuroisama
June 21st, 2007, 06:02 PM
I can't even send out an email if I know there might be a misspelled word. If I'm not sure and don't have a dictionary, I'll use another word. *_* In fact, the word misspelled looked wrong to me so I spell-checked it.

Ok. Shutting up now. Time: 8 minutes. :unsure:

don't you just love being neurotic. It makes everything way harder than it needs to be. So, I just have to ask...

Did you have nitpicky parents or judgmental friends growing up? For me it was judgmental friends back in high school. Every slip of the tongue or glimmer of ignorance (by ignorance, I mean not knowing a fact--simple or otherwise--the group knows) and they pounced. It was really annoying. It got to the point where if I didn't know something I just played like I did until I could go research it. Asking them meant I'd get to hold the giant target for the rest of the day.

As a result, I have a tendency of not asking until someone else does (if I ask at all), or I'll ask something and then work myself into a state hoping people don't think I'm a complete moron for not knowing in the first place.

Sidenote: I have to have my watch. I feel lost when I don't know the time. And it talks too. Most people wake up to an annoying buzzer, my watch wishes me good morning... actually it says good evening, which is just wrong since it's 3:40am (that's morning darn it. It's bad enough I have to get up that early in the first place without my watch taunting me). It says, "Alarm 1: Good evening, it is 3:40 am." and it repeats that over and over until I turn it off or 3:41am rolls around.

Sascha_Illyvich
June 21st, 2007, 08:32 PM
Haha, you'd all better get used to technology. I own two cell phones, have to answer both, use internet on one, have a PDA, an old laptop that thankfully I can support should the need arise, still need to get Other Half one, and get an updated one...

Time: about 30 seconds lol!

Bending over for a spanking...

kayelle_allen
June 21st, 2007, 10:55 PM
Haha, you'd all better get used to technology. I own two cell phones, have to answer both, use internet on one, have a PDA, an old laptop that thankfully I can support should the need arise, still need to get Other Half one, and get an updated one...

Time: about 30 seconds lol!

Bending over for a spanking...

Go on. Admit it. You are just here for the spankings.

:dots:

kayelle_allen
June 21st, 2007, 11:03 PM
don't you just love being neurotic. It makes everything way harder than it needs to be. So, I just have to ask...

Did you have nitpicky parents or judgmental friends growing up?

No, I think I brought on my own neurosis. You should see my worldbuilding details. I am paranoid someone will read book 1 and find something out of the timeline in book 4... :oops:



Sidenote: I have to have my watch. I feel lost when I don't know the time. And it talks too. Most people wake up to an annoying buzzer, my watch wishes me good morning... actually it says good evening, which is just wrong since it's 3:40am (that's morning darn it. It's bad enough I have to get up that early in the first place without my watch taunting me). It says, "Alarm 1: Good evening, it is 3:40 am." and it repeats that over and over until I turn it off or 3:41am rolls around.

Your alarm clock story reminds me of one of my characters, whose emergency hotline screams like a jungle bird. He absolutely detests the sound but knows he will not ignore it, which he's prone to do with phones. If nothing else, answering it will shut the stupid bird the *b*l*e*e*p* up. Yes, Neuroses R Us, at your service. :P:

kuroisama
June 22nd, 2007, 04:05 PM
No, I think I brought on my own neurosis. You should see my worldbuilding details. I am paranoid someone will read book 1 and find something out of the timeline in book 4... :oops:


That reason alone is why I started writing all my stories at the same time. That way I could change little things here or there (or add them). It's a great idea until I start publishing them. Once it's out there, I can't change anything anymore. :)

Heck, I have a future contest planned to see just how well my readers are paying attention. Hint: one character (who gets his own book later) pops up in a few other people's books as a gloss over side character. It's a where's Waldo been type of contest. And since it'll be a looooong while before I can post it, I feel safe mentioning it now. ;P

deniserossetti
June 24th, 2007, 07:01 AM
No, I think I brought on my own neurosis. You should see my worldbuilding details. I am paranoid someone will read book 1 and find something out of the timeline in book 4...


I have an encyclopedia on my website. Mirry (Miriliel the Burnished) is the scholar who actually compiled it, but I put it there so I can keep my head straight. It's really more for me than for readers. :redface:

I keep lists of names for plants, animals, people etc etc. I can't put a detail in a book unless I've been back to the encyclopedia or the earlier books in the series to ensure it matches. I even keep chronologies, and include all sorts of dates/events in them that don't even appear in the books. Sigh... Some people are just more anal than others. And don't take that the wrong way, OK? :whistling:

Denise

kayelle_allen
June 24th, 2007, 07:49 AM
I have an encyclopedia on my website. Mirry (Miriliel the Burnished) is the scholar who actually compiled it, but I put it there so I can keep my head straight. It's really more for me than for readers. :redface:

I keep lists of names for plants, animals, people etc etc. I can't put a detail in a book unless I've been back to the encyclopedia or the earlier books in the series to ensure it matches. I even keep chronologies, and include all sorts of dates/events in them that don't even appear in the books. Sigh... Some people are just more anal than others. And don't take that the wrong way, OK? :whistling:

Denise

This is good to know. I wrote a language for my Kin people, called Felis, and posted a glossary on my site. Imagine my shock when I got an email once from a reader and she had used a sentence written in Felis. I had to go to my own website and translate it. :) Her sentence was beautifully written and very expressive. I think taking those extra pains for world building make the story much more alive not only to readers, but to myself.

If that's anal, then heck yeah. I am for sure. Glad I'm in good company.

:rockon:

Shirley Jump
June 24th, 2007, 11:00 AM
One more thing you might want to think about when developin the marketing hook is the "dreaded" high concept hook. The books that have gotten me the most promotion have been the ones that have had a high concept -- meaning you can encapsulate it in a nutshell, comparing it to something that is well known and popular, but you put your own spin on it. Example:

"Die Hard" on a Navy ship== that is "Under Siege" with Stephen Seagal. You get an immediate picture when you hear the six word pitch of what the movie is about. "Bruce Almighty" with Noah's Ark and the Office==Evan Almighty and Steve Carrell. See what I mean?

I had a book that was "Survivor" in an RV -- The Bachelor's Dare, Silhouette Romance, December 2003. My recipes with romance series was pitched to booksellers as a "Diane Mott Davidson" but in a romance package.

Quick hit that encapsulates it in a second. And when you're standing in a bookstore and people say "what do you write" or "what is that book about"? you can give them a quick one-liner.

HTH,

Linda L Lattimer
June 24th, 2007, 01:33 PM
Shayla, I love your sentence on your website, this ain't your momma's romance novel!

Linda

Shayla Kersten
June 24th, 2007, 02:37 PM
Shayla, I love your sentence on your website, this ain't your momma's romance novel!

Linda
Thanks, Linda. I kind of snurched from an automobile ad that ran a while back. Can't remember the brand but it was something like, "this isn't your parents' Oldsmobile".

I finally finished the Kensington proposal I was working on. My cover letter hook (and possible book tag) was

"Have you ever had a dream so real you could taste it?"

The next sentence was "Catlin Landry has. Little does she realized, they aren't dreams."

That lead into my blurb. I just hope the Kensington editor is "hooked" by it! LOL I mailed it on Friday accompanied by the physical nausea I've come to expect when I send off a proposal or manuscript. *cackle* I wonder if that yucky feeling will ever go away!

Shayla

kayelle_allen
June 24th, 2007, 06:40 PM
Thanks, Linda. I kind of snurched from an automobile ad that ran a while back. Can't remember the brand but it was something like, "this isn't your parents' Oldsmobile".

I finally finished the Kensington proposal I was working on. My cover letter hook (and possible book tag) was

"Have you ever had a dream so real you could taste it?"

The next sentence was "Catlin Landry has. Little does she realized, they aren't dreams."

That lead into my blurb. I just hope the Kensington editor is "hooked" by it! LOL I mailed it on Friday accompanied by the physical nausea I've come to expect when I send off a proposal or manuscript. *cackle* I wonder if that yucky feeling will ever go away!

Shayla

It goes away about 2 seconds after you get the call, Shayla. :)

Shayla Kersten
June 24th, 2007, 06:46 PM
It goes away about 2 seconds after you get the call, Shayla. :)
Ha! Then I get even more nauseous! LOL And with the Kensington proposal, the manuscript is unfinished. That means I'd have to actually write it! *cackle*

The novella I sold on proposal made me crazy writing it. I had to actually stick to the synopsis when my blasted characters wanted to go a different direction!

Sascha_Illyvich
June 27th, 2007, 03:12 PM
I saw Jude was here and she owes me like...a hundred anyway lol! I know technology is a pain for many people. It's such a geek thing for me to say "as a writer and investor, I need two cell phones just so I can keep businesess separate."

Until they invented the Treo lol! If I could write from my cell phone, I probably would.

Anna Fallon
June 28th, 2007, 11:48 PM
Oh the hook ,yes , yes, that sentence you write that identifies what sets your story apart form any of the others. Write a book then identify the hook.

How about write the hooks, then the books LOL

This is how I get all my new story ideas. I write the hook first. I brainstorm and have fun and reverse roles to see what could happen. It's fun. In the Romantic Suspense I am about to sub to Silhouette my H is the single Dad and My h doesn't want children. This came to me as I went along and the story grew as I wrote.

My next books I already have the basic hooks for by writing a lot of what if's. I always try and pitch opposites so that plent of natural conflict arises from that then I'll worry about the rest of it as I write.

I'll let you know how I go hehe.

kayelle_allen
June 29th, 2007, 09:37 PM
Oh the hook ,yes , yes, that sentence you write that identifies what sets your story apart form any of the others. Write a book then identify the hook.

How about write the hooks, then the books LOL



Oh I like the way you think. :) I have the hook before I do the book too. It makes a huge difference in how I write, as well as how fast I write. Do you ever vary from where you started?

Anna Fallon
June 30th, 2007, 12:44 AM
I don't usually vary from the essence of the hook, but I certainly do bring in other aspects of conflict as they arrive. Somethings do just come up as we write, and that is great. But the actual thing that sets the story apart from everyone elses doesn't change.

Eg she runs a luxury cat boarding home and isn't a dog lover, he own two tiny lap dogs and has no time for cats, but in an emergency he begs her to take his doggies in for a week as he has to leave the country. She agrees reluctantly, and because he is so damn cute up close with those begging eyes.
This would be the hook, as to what arises from the dogs being in a cat home and causing havoc and him maybe not taking it a seriously as he should, and her being a business woman in a new city, trying to do it alone....well anything could happen LOL, but the basic hook remains the same.

It's hard to identify the hook in amongst conflicts once the book is written I find. I always want to mention everything in case it seems boring LOL. But then it's hard to keep concise, so I think about the way I would describe the book in one sentence to anyone who asked me what it's about.

It's about a woman taking care of two doggies in her luxury boarding home for cats, as a favor to man who loves his two little lap dogs, but is allergic to cats.

Something like that, and then you can see the natural conflict that could arise from that. It's that first sentence in a query, that could be the most important. But also for websites and getting readers to want to buy the book you need a good hook. A hook is important for so may reasons isn't it, even if only to keep our idea filled heads on the straight and narrow LOL

Shirley Jump
June 30th, 2007, 08:27 AM
Ignorance truly is bliss. :) I just watched Miss Potter, a film about the life of Beatrix Potter, the childrens book author. We had it so easy compared to her, yet she managed to make a fortune (for those times). Word of mouth and a great product was what did it for her. You'd think with the internet and all the modern conveniences we have it would be a snap. You'd think...

True, but there is SO much more vying for readers' attention these days. Not just the aforementioned Internet and TV and movies, but the other 180,000 books released in a year. It's hard to stand out in a crowd when you're one of 180,000 :-).

Not that it can't be done--it can--but when Beatrix Potter wrote, there was certainly not as much competition on the shelves as there is today.

Shirley Jump
June 30th, 2007, 08:29 AM
It's about a woman taking care of two doggies in her luxury boarding home for cats, as a favor to man who loves his two little lap dogs, but is allergic to cats.

LOL! That one sounds funny, Anna!

I love Dwight Swain's (author of Techniques of the Selling Writer) definition of conflict:

"Two dogs. One bone." That's about as simple as you can make it. ;-)

Anna Fallon
June 30th, 2007, 09:39 AM
Yes, I think that is one of the things that makes romantic comedy so funny, putting two opposites together and watch them react against each other. Movies use this a lot don't they?

Not to digress off hooks too much, if you can get that aspect into you hook, it will hit the mark for sure, I mean those type of hooks just make you want to write the story so bad, so they have to make someone want to read it :lol: .....I may be biased of course.:tt2:

kayelle_allen
June 30th, 2007, 10:04 AM
That essence of conflict is perfect. I remember an old movie that had this hook, "What happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object?" It made you want to see what happened next.

The cat/dog story sounds great! Is that a new book, one that's out?

Anna Fallon
June 30th, 2007, 12:32 PM
Actually it was an idea that popped up when another author and I were brainstorming hooks. I left it for her to try, I hope she does...it would be a good story
Anna