By Francine Silverman

It’s easy to target your audience if you write a parenting or hiking book. But what if your book is a memoir, biography or novel?

There are many ways to find your readers. One method is to pick apart your book. Is there a theme running through it?

Though Michael Charles Messineo’s book, Rigby's Roads (PublishAmerica 2004), has multiple themes, there is one common thread – motorcycles.

Seeking to produce business cards with “maximum exposure to a captured audience,” Michael knew that winter weather in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado is variable and that cyclists would benefit from knowing the wind chill/weather/speed ratios. Calculating the wind chill factor as a combination of temperature and wind speed, he conceived the idea of creating a wind chill factor for riding motorcycles in the winter. “I found the NOAA weather site and used their calculator to find the wind chill for temperatures ranging from 50 to 10 degrees and tied that into wind speeds that a motorcycle would be traveling such as 30, 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70 mph. “I created an easy-to-read chart that I could fit on one side of a business card and I put the plug for my book on the other side.”

Mike mailed them to 150 Harley-Davidson dealers around the US and handed them out at motorcycle rallies. “So I created a plug for my book that was secondary to the main focus…The reaction was fantastic and the card stays with them and is never thrown out.”
“The plug for my book on the reverse side of the wind chill chart is..... ‘Rigby's Roads,A story of love, murder, and restoration of life. What happens when a mild mannered man who is about to end his life, gets mixed up with motorcycle gangs, the FBI, and a chase for terrorist secrets?’””I always hand the card to the bikers with the wind chill side in view. They stare at it and read it with interest. I have perfected my advertising touch because the dollars are being funneled to my captured audience and I am getting the biggest bang for my buck.”

When a book has multiple themes, you can

(1) market them separately.

Lori Hein’s Ribbons of Highway: A Mother-Child Journey Across America ( 2004) is a travel narrative about a 12,000 mile, post-9/11 journeyed into America that she took with her two children. Because the book has broad appeal, Lori has found marketing success in many niches. “Some weeks, I focus on the travel market,” she says. “Then, I’ll switch gears and target my efforts toward parenting publications, or women’s or mother’s groups. Terriorism, patriotism and world events also make my message pertinent to veteran’s groups, the military, and people concerned with America’s place in our world. All of this combines to allow me very fertile ground for marketing my book. I focus on one niche at a time.”

Sigrid Macdonald’s second book is a novel dealing with midlife themes. D’Amour Road (Lulu 2005) is about a missing woman so she contacted several other sites of a similar nature and five or six agreed to link back to her site. The book also emphasizes the importance of the presumption of innocence so Sigrid wrote to a number of organizations and friends that she has “in the world of wrongful convictions. One sent out my book announcement on a national mailing list and another group will be reviewing the book in an upcoming newsletter.”

(2) market multiple themes as one package.

With each new book, Cynthia Leal Massey sends news releases to feature editors at her local newspapers in San Antonio, Texas, making sure to have an angle. The triple hook on her first novel, Fire Lilies (Booksurge 2001), was that it was a “first,” published in a relatively new format in 2001 (an ebook), and a family saga about the trials of a Mexican family during the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

As a result, one reporter “wrote a fantastic story” about her novel and “this new technology, and it came out the day before my first book signing at a local Barnes & Noble.” Cynthia estimates that at least one-third of the 125 attendees were there as a result of the article. “I sold out of my book that day – 100 copies with order for 15 more.”

(3) promote one theme to several markets.

Lorraine Kember’s book, “Lean on Me” Cancer Through a Carer’s Eyes (L. Kember Publications 2004), is about her late husband’s battle with cancer. Her initial marketing effort was to send the book to members of the medical and palliative care staff who were involved with his illness. On every occasion, she says, “my book was highly praised,” so she moved on from marketing to medical staff to others, which has increased interest in her book.

(4) or cross-promote one theme

Paul Steward’s first book, Tales of Dirt, Danger and Darkness (Greyhound Press 1998), is a collection of short horror stories set in caves. Naturally, he targeted cavers, of which there are more than 12,000 in the USA, according to Paul.

His next book, True Tales of Terror in the Caves of the World (Cave Books, 2005) is the Editor's Pick: Book of the Month in the latest issue of The Hollow Earth Insider’s "Unraveling the Secrets" (http:// Paul notes this e-newsletter has over 6,500 subscribers and is a perfect example of how successful it can be for finding crossover subjects foryour book. As suspected, people interested in ‘hollow earth’ theories [those who believe the earth is hollow and that aliens and UFOs are coming from inside the earth, not outer space]. would most likely be interested in books about caves.

View your book as a road with many forks and follow them all.

Francine Silverman is editor/publisher of Book Promotion Newsletter, and author of Book Marketing from A-Z, a compilation of the best marketing strategies of 325 authors.

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