How to Market Fiction Books (Show, don’t Tell)


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I meet many amazing fiction writers here at WordPress. I’d like to see you sell more books.

Not by telling you what you should do. Though I have several book marketing posts that do just that.

But by showing you. I’m going to take the plunge and write, publish, and market fiction.

I’ve written, published, and marketed a variety of nonfiction books. So this will be a change.

More than that, I will show you how I go about the planning, writing, publishing, and marketing. Every step of the way.

I hope you’ll see that I do some things different. I hope you wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” (But if you do, it won’t be too late.) Or, “Oh, I want to try that, too.” I’ll also carefully consider the many decisions that authors must make as they write, publish, and market, and share my reasoning with you. Maybe this will help other writers with their decisions.


I’m not going to rush. I don’t have any deadlines. I’m not trying to get a book out in one month or six.

I realize that time is on my side. I’m setting my goals long-term.

For one, I need time:

  • planning
  • research
  • writing
  • revising
  • editing
  • pre-marketing

Since I believe that this idea is worth writing, my goal is to try and do it ‘right.’

You want exposure for your book, right? So don’t rush. Take your time to help gain exposure along the way. It may pay off in big ways in the long run.

I don’t want the marketing to be an afterthought. If it’s worth writing, it’s worth finding readers.

My timeline is continued progress. I’ll show you that progress as I show you how I strive to make my book marketable, and strive to market my book.

This blog will remain focused on helping authors on their writing and publishing journeys. I’ll only mention my fiction books in posts that aim to show fiction book marketing firsthand. I’ll be adding a separate website to promote my fiction books.

I will try not to over-post on this blog. I’ll try to mix it up with my usual variety of posts.


Are you working on a book, too?

We can pursue our writing, publishing, and marketing journeys together. Follow along.

Wondering what to do with your book?

Struggling to make decisions?

Not sure what direction to head?

I’ll be facing these same questions along the way. I’ll show you how I made my decisions, which may help you make yours. Of course, you might not make the same choices, but that’s okay.


As you may have noticed, I’m trying not to reveal too much today.

I plan to reveal more as my journey unfolds, so that you can see my decisions as I make them and explain why I did what I did.

Though the cover pic for this post provides a hint. Not quite. Don’t take the pic too literally. Just a hint.

My next post will reveal the topic, why I chose that topic, and the important issue of my writing goals. I’ll try to show you what’s important about it. And this will already include some book marketing ideas. It’s never too early to start thinking about marketing.

Remember, you’re not advertising. You’re not marketing for immediate sales (think of those, if you get them, as a sweet bonus). You’re trying to attract readers. You’re showing that your book is worth marketing. You’re not trying to shove your book down peoples’ throats. You’re trying to get discovered, in subtle ways, branding an image for yourself, not tattooing your book on readers’ foreheads though. You’re trying to establish yourself as a professional writer. You’re trying to convey your passion for your book.

Your best bet is to think long-term.


I’m confident in my idea. I have to be. Otherwise, why bother? Get that self-confidence. Motivate yourself. You can do it. I believe it. But you’re the one who needs to believe it. Before your readers will.

Convince yourself that you have the:

  • relevant background
  • writing ability
  • storytelling ability
  • special ingredient readers will appreciate
  • right elements to make your book marketable

I’ll get more specific in another post, when I give reasons to believe in my project.

But you have to balance confidence with humility. It’s a tough combination, yet an important one.

Readers want you to believe in yourself and your book, but they don’t want you to come across as overconfident or egotistical. This is vital to your marketing.


In a way, I’m starting out as a new author. A new fiction author.

I’ve published and sold many books as a nonfiction author. But fiction is different.

In a couple of ways, I do have an advantage:

  • I have experience with writing, publishing, and marketing.
  • I have a nonfiction following, which is better than no following at all.

But even newbie authors can help to offset this:

  • Who says you can’t start building a following before you publish? Nobody! Start thinking of ways to build an audience for your book.
  • You can learn from the experience of others. Many authors share their experiences and provide helpful tips. Do some research.

Still, I need to build a new following. My fiction books will have a different target audience. (Well, of course, I’d be honored to have you read my book, too.)

I’ll show you how I go about this.

I’m not looking for a one-hit wonder. I plan to publish several similar books, perhaps in a series (that will be one of the decisions I must carefully consider). Obviously, not publishing all at once. It will take time to get there. But time is on our side, if we would simply let it play on our team. πŸ™‚


I hope that my effort to not only write, publish, and market my fiction books, but also to show how I do it and my reasoning along the way will help other authors.

Maybe it will provide some helpful ideas.

Maybe it will help with motivation.

Maybe it will offer inspiration.

I hope it helps in some way.

Chris McMullen

CopyrightΒ Β© 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.


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28 comments on “How to Market Fiction Books (Show, don’t Tell)

    • The dark side? You mean the grass isn’t greener over here? πŸ™‚

      Oh yes, I’ll have questions, and I hope the many wonderful fiction writers here at WordPress will share their ideas and experience in the comments section.

  1. Chris thank you so much for all these articles. I started a blog in March last year, and through the course of events have found myself writing my first novel. I am excited to see what you will share. I know I will learn something new every day! Thanks.

  2. Intriguing! Good luck in this new venture Chris! I have just started #3 in my trilogy, so I will be writing alongside you on this journey!

  3. Can’t wait to see this unfolding!
    I have a book almost ready for publication (so I don’t have a published book yet), but I’m already trying to build a following, and myself as a writer.
    Thanks so much for sharing πŸ™‚

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