Does it Really Matter Where I Market My Novel?

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Since a lot of people know I’m a marketing genius into marketing, I’m often asked the question, “Alright, Smarty Pants, so where would you market my novel?” Okay, minus the “smarty pants”. The point is that I get asked this question, and the first thought that comes to my mind when it’s asked is…does it really matter where you market your novel?

I mean, did it really matter that Harry Potter and the Philospher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone was available at a Barnes & Noble or a Borders versus your small, local independent bookstore?

Yes…but not really. Let me explain.

As writers and artists, once we start marketing our art or our stories, we get hung up on the “where” of it all. Where would be the perfect shop to sell my book? The perfect venue to perform? The perfect place to display my latest piece? The “where” does matter, but not in the way you might think. It only matters in terms of scale. Specifically, the scale of your audience.

So…what I should really be asking is: Who is the audience that I want to reach? Bingo.

If you get stuck on the “where”, you get stuck on logistics. Back to Harry Potter. When the books first came out, my mom bought the first three for me from the local bookstore. My cousin, who lives in a whole other state, stood in long lines at the biggest bookstore near her each time one of the new books came out. If I were to ask you which one of us is the biggest fan, what would you say? Does it even matter? Do you see what I’m getting at?

J.K. Rowling’s fans weren’t specific to any certain location. The only difference between a Harry Potter release at a Barnes & Noble versus a small bookstore was the number of fans. Of course in marketing, more fans are going to equal more sales…which is a good thing. But are they different kinds of fans? Of course not! If we’re talking strictly marketing, a Harry Potter fan is a Harry Potter fan. No ifs, ands, or Dumbledores about it.

I’m not saying that “where” you choose to market yourself isn’t important – it is important. But it’s only one half of the marketing equation. (Wait, now you’re bringing math into this??)

Who is the audience I want to reach? + Where should I market my novel/art? = MARKETING MAGIC!!

No, but really. Let’s recap. The where you market will be the driving factor in how many people you reach – and ultimately, you’ll make sales just because…well, you’re selling to a high volume of people. But the who you want to reach is your real ammunition because once you have your audience pegged, you’ll keep on making your best sales. And that’s real marketing power.

What’s your take on the “who” versus “where” we market our projects?

By Tanya

Tanya Marcy is a writer, storyteller, and avid reader who loves advising writers and mentoring young creatives.