Every Writers’ Wednesday, a successful self-published author shares a favourite book promotion tip here on Debbie Young’s Off The Shelf blog
I first met Atulya Bingham through the Alliance of Independent Authors, of which we’re both author members, and was impressed when she won a prestigious award for her debut novel earlier this year, so it’s a pleasure to welcome her to Off The Shelf today to share her favourite way of marketing her books.
Debbie Young: What’s your favourite book promotion tip? It doesn’t need to be the one that sells the most books – it could just be the one you most enjoy.
Atulya Bingham: I thought I’d hate book promotion, yet to my secret horror, I love it. A significant part of the book promotion process concerns finding your niche, the quirkier the better, and working out how to market to it. I discovered (and continue to discover) niches for my novel Ayşe’s Trail long after it was released, and this has proved to be my favourite part of the process.
Debbie Young: How do you do it? Please give brief instructions!
Atulya Bingham: We have been trained by the current publishing industry to think in terms of a few, very limited genre styles, when in fact, many readers are crying out for something less mainstream (I know I was). Initially, I was scratching my head wondering who I’d sell my book too. Ayşe’s Trail is contemporary biography meets historical fiction, and doesn’t fit into the classic genre structure we are used to. The novel is set in Turkey. It concerns a Turkish woman who takes on the historical Lycian Way hiking trail and unwittingly crosses paths with the ancient world. I fretted about what exactly my niche was, until finally I realised one niche wasn’t enough! I deconstructed the genre into a set of apparently quite disparate market sectors: Hikers and adventurers, single women, visitors to Turkey, history buffs and expats. Every time I spot a blog or online platform for one of these niches, I bookmark it in the appropriate folder. Then, I mail them to see if they’d like to review the book, or me to guest post.
Debbie Young: Why do you particularly enjoy this activity?
Atulya Bingham: It’s like an intricate puzzle with my novel at the centre. It’s surprising just how many interest groups, small and large, you can find who might want to read your book. I originally assumed my novel would be bought by hikers, but as time goes by, I see it has a far wider appeal than I envisaged, especially among visitors to Turkey and history lovers.
Debbie Young: Which book(s) have you used it for and when?
Atulya Bingham: For my debut novel, Ayşe’s Trail.
Debbie Young: If you were doing it again for another book tomorrow, would you do it any differently?
Atulya Bingham: The only thing I’d do differently is to start investigating the niches my novel would appeal to far earlier on in the writing process. I was too vague in my pre-launch promotion efforts. As I said, I waited until a month or so after the launch before I started.
Debbie Young: Which part of the book promotion process do you like least?
Atulya Bingham: I dislike the distribution process. In the UK this may not apply because enough people use Amazon and all major bookshops refuse to sell Indie authors (this is a blessing in disguise, if you ask me). Here in Turkey it’s a different story. Amazon delivery is hampered by tiresome customs issues, while bookshops, even chains, are less regimented. It’s very easy to find outlets to sell hardcopies of the book: bookstores, hotels, restaurants and cafes are all open to distributing. It is also lucrative. Nonetheless, I find the delivery and collection business tedious.
Debbie Young: Can you name one promotional activity that you’d like to try that you haven’t tried yet – or tried but not yet perfected?
Atulya Bingham: I’d like to do more public speaking events as I love performing and drawing people into the world of my novel. Especially, I’d like to perfect the art of storytelling. I did it once and forgot my lines half-way through.
Debbie Young: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers now? e.g. news of your next book or event.
Atulya Bingham: Only that Ayşe’s Trail won The One Big Book Launch in April this year, took me five years to write, and was inspired by the nature, culture and women of Turkey.
Debbie Young: Congratulations, Atulya, on that impressive win, and well done on putting so much time and care into your novel – I guess the latter is one reason why you won the award!
For more information about Atulya Bingham, visit her author website here: www.atulyakbingham.com
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