Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Find a Market Early

When a book is published, you have to market it, to attract buyers. Even if you’re traditionally published, the publisher will want to know who you think will buy the book, as part of your pitch. But the time to think about markets is long before that. In fact I would recommend you consider it long before the book is finished, or even before it’s started.

Speech 3

Non Fiction

For non fiction books like my history books, you need to be sure there’s a market for the subject, or your treatment of the subject, before you go to a lot of trouble researching and writing. You might find out that the demand is for a slightly different book, or a different angle on the subject. Or you may find that there’s no demand, or someone has already written the book you’re planning. A disappointment, but at least it saves you a whole load of work.

My book, Alina, The White Lady of Oystermouth, started out as a personal interest, but turned into a book when I realised that there’s no book in existence about this significant person in local history. I’m in the amazing position that if anyone Googles Alina de Breos after visiting Oystermouth Castle and its Alina Chapel, they find me.

However, I’m still fascinated by the de Breos family, and would like to write more stories from their history, but I won’t get such a good market opportunity again, so I have to think carefully before writing any more. The second book, Broken Reed: The Lords of Gower and King John, only did well locally because I had a good reputation from the first book.

My third book, The Magna Carta Story, was written to take advantage of the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta. This is the first book I’ve written by looking at the market first, but I didn’t plan my marketing well enough and wasn’t able to take more advantage of the events around the anniversary.


Even for fiction it’s worth doing some thinking about your potential markets. By all means, write your story your own way, but it’s good to think about your potential market and the elements that readers of that genre expect to find. Whatever you decide about the writing, you still need to think about where and how you’ll eventually market the book.

Everyone says that writing the ‘blurb’ for the back of the book, the strap line, the pitch and other marketing copy is really hard. Give yourself plenty of time and think about it while the book is being written. Don’t leave it until afterwards and have to write these things under pressure. Thinking about who will be interested is a great help when composing your marketing copy.

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