Author Adventure: Market Research – The Bookstore Laboratory

An important part of publishing is knowing how to market your book. Before you can get into the specifics of how the publishing industry works, even while you’re still polishing the last versions of your work in progress, you’ll want to start to become familiar with your local bookstore(s). This laboratory is perfect for beginning the market research for how to promote your book once it’s published or help you find an agent.

In this laboratory you’ll want to browse the aisles, making observations about what you see and reading books from the same genre as the one you’re writing in. You’ll want to pay particular attention to books in your section by new authors whom you don’t recognize. This is where you will be if everything works out! What you’ll be looking for is how these new books are packaged and priced. Important considerations when doing your research include:

  1. Cover design – what is about the cover that’s intended to draw you in? Is there a pattern in the themes in the art?
  2. Jacket Copy – How long or short is it? What POV is it told in? How much of the plot does it reveal?
  3. Endorsement Blurbs – Are they specific? Are they from recognizable names?

You get the picture – anything and everything that went into putting book together into the finished product in your hand.

You may feel that the market laboratory that is the bookstore is unnecessary because writing is an art. Writing is an art. However, publishing and marketing are businesses. Therefore, part of becoming successful is to become versed in the knowledge of how books are put together and marketed within a store. You will build credibility with publishing professionals if you can speak intelligently to what is currently on the market, what is working and what isn’t – but especially if you can show you grasp where your own book will fit into that market. It boosts your query or cover letter accompanying your submissions if you can reflect this understanding in it. It increases your chances of landing an agent or editor.

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