The All Things Book Marketing podcast is a popular biweekly show featuring book marketing and publicity tips from the top voices in the publishing industry. Be sure to subscribe so you never miss a new episode! Our Open Book series was established in 2022 and features interviews with Smith Publicity team members.
In this fun and helpful new Open Book episode, we explore the fiction genre and how Smith Publicity works with fiction authors. Publicity Manager for our Fiction Team, Andrea Kiliany Thatcher, along with Business Development Manager, Kellie Rendina, discuss the genre, the benefits fiction authors experience working with a publicity team, and much more. Let’s dive in!
How can publicity benefit a fiction author?
Book publicity is uniquely important for a fiction author, because their major goals often include selling books. In order to do that, pre-publication reviews and lots of buzz around the launch of the fiction book will be extremely important – and of course, a professional book marketing team will assist with that. Whereas a nonfiction author may have their goals set in different areas – speaking engagements, gaining clients for their business, etc. – a fiction author is uniquely positioned for book publicity because they wrote their book for people to truly read it and enjoy it. In order to do that, it’s crucial to get the book out there.
While a book marketing team can’t control what the media covers, the passionate publicists at Smith Publicity work to raise awareness of the book and to drive reviews and gain momentum as the launch date approaches.
What types of reviews does Smith Publicity focus on for fiction authors?
Smith Publicity’s focus is on merit-based reviews for fiction authors, meaning the coverage that we’re looking to secure is not usually at an additional cost to the author. Rather, it’s true editorial coverage based on the media’s interest in the author’s book. Not only is this coverage more organic, but it also has the added benefit of the author being able to receive honest feedback from the media. The consumer, too, sees this type of coverage as transparent and is likely to trust the source and, therefore, check out the book.
Does Smith Publicity help a fiction author build their brand?
The team at Smith Publicity are not only experts in book marketing, but they are also well-versed in brand building. Fiction authors are not exempt from needing to build their author brand. What sets the author apart? What types of books do they write? What is their background or tie to the subject matter, if any? Fiction authors often have very busy lives outside of their writing – family, day jobs – that may prevent them from being able to develop their author brand in the most effective way. The Smith Publicity team will work with the fiction author to define and build their unique author brand, and will hold their hand and support them every step of the way.
Is a good book cover really that important for fiction authors?
It’s important that fiction authors know: a good book cover is important. More than ever, the media is more likely to cover a book and consumers are more likely to pick up a book if the cover is appealing.
A quality, visually appealing book cover is the last thing some fiction authors might think of; they’re writers, after all. However, the world we live in is extremely visual. The media that we are reaching out to – and with fiction, social media is increasingly crucial with BookTok and Bookstagram taking the lead – are more likely to be grabbed by an interesting book cover and will want to feature that cover on their feeds or pages.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to book covers is consistency. Fiction authors may write a series, and it’s extremely important to have book cover consistency when it comes to the books in that series.
If a fiction author is with a traditional publisher, Smith Publicity’s professional advice is to trust the experience of the publisher’s design team. They know what’s trending, what works for your genre, and they have the expertise to implement the designs. For self-published authors, there are many book cover designers out there for hire. Smith Publicity would be happy to offer some referrals, and there are many other sources out there to browse, as well. Again, make sure that you are investing in your book cover – you won’t regret it!
What are some trends in the fiction space in 2023?
Historical fiction is a mammoth genre and very popular – and that’s not going away. One thing the Smith Publicity team has been seeing is an increase in a strong female lead as the main character. Similarly, a book cover trend we’re seeing in the historical fiction genre is a beautiful image on the cover, and there is often a woman walking away or looking away.
An enduring trend that we continue to see and lean into is the power of social media when it comes to promoting a fiction book. We mention it above, but the impact that a Bookstagrammer or BookTokker with a large and loyal following can have on a fiction book just can’t be understated.
Another enduring trend – or really, a standard at this point – would be making sure a fiction book is niched down as much as possible. At Smith Publicity, the team truly emphasizes that if an author says their book is for everyone, it’s actually for no one.