Marketing Speculative Fiction

Marketing for any project can be difficult, but for speculative fiction, it's even trickier. You can jump, hop, dodge, swing, or charge at it head on. Everyone has a different strategy. The problem is there's no one way to do it, and this confuses and intimidates people.

Speculative fiction is a term for literature that covers genres such as fantasy, horror, science-fiction, mystery, paranormal, dystopian, romance, and alternate histories. Sometimes, a mixture of two or more of them. Why is it called speculative fiction? These are the "what if" stories. What if fairies were real? What if the monster under your bed could eat you? What if aliens came to earth? These tales propose possible answers to those questions.

You can't simply focus on a fantasy audience or horror fans. A good marketing strategy will want to draw from various audiences. Not all science-fiction fans will love it nor will all romance readers, but some will love the mixture of genres. But how to find them? And what sort of tactics will work with them?

Here are a few tips to finding your audience and marketing to them. Keep in mind that speculative fiction is such a broad genre, and what works for one author might not work for you. You have to find your own path.

Finding your audience:
- Identify the sub-genres of your book. Be very specific.
- What's your hook? Make sure it encompasses your sub-genres.
- Find books similar to yours and research what sort of people reader them. (Age group, where they live, what issues are important to them, interests.)
- Stay up to date on news and trends regarding your specific genres.
- Don't try to make readers with no interest like you. Focus on those that already like what you write.

Once you have a target audience, you can set your marketing goals.
- You know where to find your audience online. Go where they are and be seen. Author sites, forums, fan groups.
- Not only go to where they are online, but put yourself out there at conventions, charities, and other events where your audience flocks.
- Experiment with social media. You'll overwhelm yourself if you try to use all the different forms of social media out there. Perhaps Twitter and blogging will work best, or maybe Facebook and Pinterest. See where you get the most attention and focus your attention there.
- Market yourself. It's not all about your book. What makes you unique? You need to know what your hook is as well. If you're likable and interesting, more people will check out your book.
- Giveaways. People love free stuff.

What marketing strategies have you used? Any tips you're willing to share?

By Christine Rains


  1. I still need to publish, but your approach definitely makes sense. :-)

  2. Be prepared for a bigger (or different) audience than originally anticipated as well!

  3. Works pretty good to have a niece putting rack cards in her employees pay envelopes also.

    She has 1000 folks on her payroll. Each got a large card with all the info, hook, picture, and venues on it.

    Am I lucky or what.

  4. Never give up, keep looking for something new to try and try it. It usually doesn't hurt to try.

    And it does seem to work differently for everyone. One author I chatted with had greater success giving away her second book in a series instead of the first.

  5. Great list! It's very important to remember not to try to market to people who aren't your audience.

  6. That's a good definition of speculative fiction!

  7. Thank you, everyone. Those are great tips. We need to expect the unexpected in this market and be flexible when such things happen.

  8. I think marketing is a million times harder than writing so I appreciate your tips! I am definitely learning as I go along. :)

  9. Some day these tips will come in handy, but for now it's bichok. ;)

    I always love the pictures of your boy.

  10. Your tips for finding your target audience are perfect. You really have to define your target audience and everything about them - and figure out where to go to place you and your book in front of them.

  11. Thanks, folks! It can be tough finding your audience, but there are a lot of tools out there to help these days.

    And thank you for the compliments on my cute little guy! :)

  12. Soem people swear by putting short exceprts on Wattpad. I've had interesting reactions and reviews from putting my ms on Netgalley. And yes, giveaways are always good.

  13. Soem people swear by putting short exceprts on Wattpad. I've had interesting reactions and reviews from putting my ms on Netgalley. And yes, giveaways are always good.

  14. Great tips! I still feel very overwhelmed by marketing, so I don't have any tips myself to share yet, heh.

  15. Sounds like a lot of good ideas. Sending your stories to anthologies is also an idea.

  16. Fantastic tips! I really suck at the marketing stuff. I invest most of my time into the writing community--which I love doing--but they aren't always the ones who buy the books. :) I need to get better at this, especially since I write spec fiction.

  17. All great ideas. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Thank you all. I've heard good things about Wattpad. One day I'll have to find some time to get on there!

  19. This is a really great list!



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