Visionary Fiction Forum - "Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn"
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I found your forum by doing a Google search on my name, and read your postings. One of these was from someone who was asking about marketing Visionary Fiction, and whether an author should place it under another genre in order to reach a wider audience.
When I wrote "Threads: The Reincarnation of Anne Boleyn", I knew from the outset that it was "Visionary Fiction". The cover art reflects this. Because of the sales patterns, however, the plan is to change the cover art for the next printing so it is more attractive to readers of historical fiction.
After it was in print, I started noticing on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com that the "also purchased" book links (these give insight into the kinds of books your readers are buying in addition to yours) were all for books about Anne Boleyn, both fiction and non-fiction. In other words, my book was selling to readers of biographies and historical fiction more than it was selling to Visionary Fiction readers.
The only clue that Visionary Fiction readers have even found it is in the Amazon.com "Recommendations" links, where readers post books they think other readers would like in addition to this book. I found Visionary Fiction links there.
I also noticed that, in Internet book sales, my book OUTSELLS most other historical fiction books about Anne Boleyn, and most Visionary Fiction books of a similar bent. So I'm drawing double the readership from presenting it as a split-genre title.
There is a danger in crossing genres, however. People who buy the book expecting similarities to the genre they like to read are not going to always be open to the concepts and theories explored in Visionary Fiction. Crossing genres increases sales significantly at the outset, but it also increases the likelihood that the book will fall into the "wrong hands" and be read - and reviewed - by people who disagree with the basic philosophy, or simply don't "get" it (If you prefer to read action/adventure, for instance, what kind of a review are you REALLY going to give women's fiction??). A bad review on Amazon.com hurts your sales ranking immediately. However, I've had that happen to me, and I weathered it.
On the positive side, my book has sold to people who were simply looking for historical fiction or a mindless beach read - but were delighted enough to buy more copies to give away (I get emails from readers all the time, telling me this). So it works both ways. When you move your title into another genre, you can reach an audience that wouldn't have found you otherwise. Then you let word of mouth take over. However, you can also find yourself offending people who weren't expecting the book to be spiritual and didn't want it to be. When you do, you'll take the fallout from their reactions. Just brace yourself for that, is all I would recommend.
As for publishers and their marketing efforts, keep in mind that you will most likely end up doing all your marketing yourself anyway. Publishers don't push books or spend their limited marketing funds on anyone other than their best selling authors. The rest of us are on our own. Once they've printed a book, they usually give it no more than a year or so to prove itself before they pull it out of print - far earlier than most authors are inclined to give up on their works, and far earlier than a popular but slower-moving genre like Visionary Fiction deserves.
Having said that, I would recommend self-publishing for Visionary Fiction. You can do it very inexpensively through a print-on-demand publisher such as IUniverse.com. You then keep your rights rather than signing them over to a publisher, and are assured your title will always be in print, giving you more time to build your audience. Your sales over a period of years, with a primary focus on sales through Internet booksellers, will be better overall than the sales you can expect over that one year a traditional publisher will allow you - provided you market the book. Just be sure to hire an editor before publication to make certain it doesn't contain typos and so forth.
For advice on marketing your book, I would recommend you join some of the forums and writing groups on the Internet - there is a book signing forum on Yahoo that has hundreds of authors passing along tips to one another. There are dozens of other resources as well, to help you. Don't pay anyone any money without checking things out thoroughly ahead of time, but DO plan on doing a lot of work yourself. You'll have to do that anyway, no matter how your book is published.
I would also recommend you work closely with Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and Booksamillion.com to ensure your book page is optimized and appealing to readers. You will NOT sell any books if your book page is missing cover art, a very good description of its contents, and positioning in all the right genre categories. You also have to provide these online booksellers with search keywords so readers can find you. If you can't or don't want to do that yourself, contact me. I offer that service to authors I know.
I hope that helps!
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