Marketing that Romance!

 © Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved 


I’d like to preface this article with a nod to a colleague of mine from whom I learned most of what I know about successful marketing. Dubbed “the Marketing Whore”, she has written a wonderful chapbook entitled The Marketing Whore’s Guide to Shameless Self-Promotion. To see more about her writing visit


It can take months, maybe even years to write that perfectly polished romance novel, and competition in the romance niche is fierce. So a carefully crafted marketing plan can go a long way into making sure your work does not just sink into oblivion.

The key to successful marketing is thinking of your book as a product, which, once it’s written and published, it is. You want to sell it. You want to make money from it.

Next, you need to consider your market. Who are you trying to sell to? Why should they part with their hard-earned money to buy your romance novel? What makes you stand out from the pack?

Once you have those two points mastered there are some basic points to keep in mind while planning your successful marketing campaign.

  • It takes about thirty separate exposures to a product for a consumer to remember it at will.
  • Consumers these days have short attention spans, so it’s a good idea to keep things simple when promoting.
  • If you can make the consumer think they are getting a bargain you’ll be ahead of the game.
  • Consumers tend to follow trends. How can you make your “product” trendy?

Why would consumers part with their money to buy your book? Perhaps because it will give them something they can’t get anywhere else. Think of those catchy taglines you’ve created for your book; i.e., “A cruise can get complicated when you start it with a big fat lie!” That was my tag line for my novel Big Fat Lies. Or consider those wonderful reviews you’ve received for your book: “a refreshingly candid love story”, “a story told with great honesty”, “a sweet passionate love story of wanting, needing and realizing that the man of your dreams can be a reality” ; all snippets from reviews I’ve received over the years.

Consider also, how you want to brand yourself in the marketplace. For me, I write “romantic fiction with full-figured heroines”. Author Pat Ballard has dubbed herself, “The Queen of Rubenesque Romance”. Once you have decided on your brand, be consistent in how you present it to the consumer. Remember those thirty exposures!

Consistency means that your brand and message appear on everything you design for your book—brochures, flyers, bookmarks, banner ads, signature lines, business cards—Everything. Memorize your tagline and a short book blurb, and be able to rattle it off whenever you run into a potential consumer, be it in the waiting room at the dentist, or in line for the lady’s room.

People will buy what they perceive is popular, or in vogue. If they think that many people are buying your book, or interested in your book, they may be more inclined to buy your book. So, for example, if you do a signing for your romance, make sure to get out from behind the table and schmooze the crowd. Engage them in conversation and keep them lingering at your table. Chances are that other consumers will see this and wander over to see what the interest is about. Voila! Another consumer!

You might want to take some time and study ads in magazines and flyers. Ask yourself, what about them catches your eye? How are they structured? You’ll find that the most effective ads are simple—a picture that represents the product, the brand or tagline of the product, and a link to where to purchase the product. Use this knowledge when designing your ads for your romance novel. Too much information packed into a small space, and you are likely to lose your sale.

Of course, you need a website. It is the cyber age after all. And here you can create a space that will keep consumers coming back time and time again. Some things to remember:

  • K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple…um…Silly)
  • Make sure it’s easy to navigate
  • Avoid using excessive graphics, visual effects and music—most consumers hate these and you might crash some poor consumer’s computer
  • Make sure you offer things for your readers, i.e., excerpts, free stories, writing tips, recipes, contests etc.

On your website, have a newsletter sign-up form…then of course, provide a newsletter that goes out monthly or bimonthly so you can keep reminding the consumers of your existence and let them know when you have new books for them to buy.

Make sure to include a signature line on all your emails and on the ends of your messages on lists and forums, with a link to your website. Remember the shampoo commercial, “…and she told someone, and so on, and so on, and so on…” This is called viral marketing and is basically the concept of word of mouth. That doesn’t mean you should start spamming your way around the ‘Net. Use common sense and good manners. Don’t spam!

After a while, you may find that you have a loyal following of readers who come back again and again. You want to nurture this relationship, so it might be a good idea to have a forum or blog where your “fans” can visit to interact with you. Be approachable, have lots of fun things on your website and forum for your fans. You’ll need to be willing to put in the time to regularly post and chat with your readers.

So it’s simple:

  • a website
  • an author brochure
  • your own bookmarks to give away
  • flyers
  • a press kit
  • a newsletter
  • a blog or forum

With these few marketing tips, you can make sure your romance novel stands out from the crowd.

For more information on marketing your book, try these articles by Cheryl Wright:

Marketing Yourself, Or My life As the Queen of Promotion


Publicity--An important Aspect of the Writer’s Life


Writing Articles for Publicity


About the Author: Judy Bagshaw has been published since 2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include 4 novels, 1 collection of short stories, and short stories in three anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website:



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