author C.C.Cole's blog

Saturday, August 27, 2011

On Finding Your Audience for the New Author by C.C.Cole

Like I’ve stated in the past, when my first novella of the Gastar Series came out in 2009, I hired a publicist to help me get started marketing my book.  While I understand the content of dark fantasy is not for everyone, we decided to cast a wide net to look for potential readers not immersed into playing WarCraft, with no time to read. (While it looks fun, I admit stupidity that I don’t understand it enough to play…how pathetic!)

The process was not simple, not cheap, and partially effective.  It did score me some nice blog interviews like with “Novel Journey” and a nice article surfaced on Sheknows.com about domestic violence, and how to guided me to the path of becoming an author.  This concerned me, and still does, because I didn’t want to use my sister’s death as a publicity tool.  After discussion with my immediate family members, I recall what my mother said, “if it helps a single person get out of such a situation, then it’s worth it and your sister would agree.”  The family support helped a lot, but I don’t bring up her death except when asked and I’ve mentioned it in blog articles.

After much money paid to the publicist, with some sales, I needed to somehow kick through the clear-steel ceiling of the dark fantasy readers.  I found many categories:  The Harry Potter readers, the Twilight readers, and the ones left over that read medieval dark fantasy, usually LOTR fans.  The dark fantasy genre is tough to break through; the above books dominate a lot of the readers’ market, and the competition is vast, including “A Song of Ice and Fire,” which I’m now reading.  Though these books are competition, they’re not roadblocks; bestsellers will always be around, and if some of them are dark fantasy, it means readers remain interested in the genre. 

While blogging away, seeking out blogs to solicit reviews, feature my blog, reviewing other books, I stumbled into a genre I haven’t thought about:  The Horror genre.  To me, these books are divided into two big categories:  Vampire and Non-Vampire horror.  I’ve been downloading many of the works of these Indie writers and found some excellent stories, though some of them are quite “horrifying” as they’re supposed to be.  As far as readers from the Horror genre, while many of them don’t read dark fantasy as a first choice, but some tend to like some dark fantasy stories.  Many horror authors follow me on Twitter, and I applaud their work that I’ve reviewed.

So, new authors, how do we flush out our audience so we’re not promoting dark fantasy (any genre) to a disinterested readers’ market?  Answer: The only way to find out is through aggressive but careful social networking and promotion.  We have to keep going, because once we give up, then the game is over.  The digital age is here, and our Indie books sell.  No, it doesn’t make us billionaires, but continues to be gratifying; it that weren’t the case, every Indie writer would only write one book.

So again, new authors, find your audience. I’m not suggesting that you spend your life’s saving on a publicist; the social network experts are out there to help and keep the financial costs down.  For me, I’ve enjoyed many horror novels I wouldn’t have thought about reading in the past, and some horror authors have been very supportive of my work.  Keep casting out the net, but give a something back to other new authors, and your writing journey will continue.  Nobody can stop it but you.

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