Got the Next Mind-Blowing Genre Mashup? Learn How to Market It First
“Ask the Publicist”
I am getting ready to publish my first book. It’s a partially fictionalized biography with some paranormal elements. An author friend of mine told me this will be hard to market because it blends several different genres. Why would that matter?
Genre mashups are somewhat common for first-time self publishers. Many authors tell me there are so many genre titles already available and that they’re breaking the mold with something fresh. This is a good idea in theory, but ultimately fails to consider if that’s what readers really want. However great of a read the mashup is, it can be problematic when it comes to marketing, especially for a debut work, since it can be troublesome to establish a readership without a clear genre distinction.
Clearly Defined Genre Makes Finding Your Target Audience Easier
Not having a clearly defined genre makes the book’s target market more difficult to determine and creates challenges in choosing where to concentrate marketing efforts. Potential readers looking for a mashup are fewer than potential readers looking for a specific genre, and they’re harder to find in one place. Yes, readers who think they won’t enjoy your book likely still could, but focusing on those you have to convince is more work than those who are already on board with your genre.
Of course, readers don’t necessarily fit into neat boxes, so there is likely a market and potentially even a large one for your mashup, but it’s harder to reach a varied audience in today’s online book marketing arena. Take Goodreads for example. Users get recommendations based on their genre preferences, and advertising and giveaways are targeted by genre. Facebook ads and boosted posts also use genres to target readers. When targeting, we can assume other likely interests of paranormal readers, such as playing magical games, but is that also true of biography readers? Maybe some, but definitely not in the same capacity.
Publishing a genre mashup can also make some elements of book production tricky, especially cover design and settling on a title and subtitle, since both should be largely dictated by genre. Readers looking for their next favorite like to know they’re in the right genre by first glance.
How to Successfully Market a Mashup
While writing and marketing a mashup can be done successfully, and this style is probably how new subgenres like steampunk are created, it does also require a unique marketing approach, especially in this case when you are calling it both fiction and nonfiction, which are contradictory.
Whichever genres you’re mixing, see if someone else has already done it and check out how their book is doing. How has the author engaged their target markets? How many reviews do they have? What do reviewers say? Do they like the mashup? Is the genre mixing clear based on the synopsis and the cover design? Finding out if anyone has blazed this trail before and what they did can help you see which direction to go.
Should you still publish your partially fictionalized biography with some paranormal elements? Absolutely. Just be aware that your marketing efforts might take a bit longer to get off the ground since potential readers might initially be confused, and you’ll have to target more audiences to get the same amount of interest. However, if the execution of your mashup is superb, you just might be filling a void for readers that they didn’t even know they were looking for, while creating some buzz for your unique approach.