Market Your Fiction with Non-Fiction

I often hear fiction authors struggling with ways to market their novels. Non-fiction authors seem to have an easier time with marketing, due to their expertise on their subject.

But fiction authors actually have quite a bit of nonfiction in their novels. Remember all that research you’ve done?

As Christian writers, our characters and story lines have a built-in message of faith. Writing articles on your own faith struggles and how they relate to your character’s journey is one way to use non-fiction.

Think about your character’s occupation. Is your heroine a landscaper? Write some posts on the best plants in your region. Or tie it in with the setting of your novel. A post on the best plants in the region of your book is even better. You could also spin it and list which plants are best transplanted in any region.

My heroine is a cook on a cattle drive. The pioneers only used cast iron, so I wrote a post on how to care and use cast iron.

How to clean cast iron

Did you find cool facts when you were researching that didn’t make it in to your novel? Then consider writing some articles on these.

These make great blog posts, but try taking it a step further. I pitched the idea to my local newspaper about a monthly column, Pioneering Today, which highlights the best of the pioneer lifestyle and how it relates to us today. The editor gave me permission to re-publish the articles on my blog after the current issue has run. I can offer links or pictures, so readers of the newspaper have a reason to visit my website for more information.

Consider magazines or ezines to submit these articles to as well.

What are some of your favorite non-writing blogs and magazines? How could you tie in an aspect of your writing or book to these? What ways have you used non-fiction to market your fiction?

7 Tips for Self-Editing Your Novel

Before I signed with my awesome agent, Barbara Scott, I knew my novel needed another round of edits. I looked at several freelance editors, but I just couldn’t afford the cost. So, I rolled up my shirt sleeves, prayed, and decided to do it myself. Again.

At this point, I’d already gone through my book for grammatical errors, typos, etc. I’d had a published writer and several beta readers go through it. Three other agents expressed interest if I could go back and make my novel stronger.

Here are the tips I learned that pushed my book from a maybe to yes.

1. Print it out. I fought this (don’t ask me why, my frugalness I suppose, sounds better than stubbornness), but it truly makes a huge difference. Your eye will catch things on the printed page you won’t see on the computer screen.

2. Only edit one thing at a time. Go through your manuscript focusing on one thing at a time. Do a sweep for dialogue. Is there useless chatter? Talking that doesn’t move the story forward? Do you have too many tags? Then go back for description. And so forth.

3. Examine every character. Don’t waste time with cardboard characters or the stereotypical bad guy. I highly recommend Deb Dixon’s Goal Motivation and Conflict.

4. Setting. Regardless if you write historical or contemporary, you need to research your setting. Find some of the not so common places to set your characters in. For example, lots of scenes are in restaurants, change it up and put them on a picnic at some fantastic landmark.

5. Hooks and cliff-hangers. Check out the beginning of every chapter and the ending. What can you do to make it stronger? What could happen that would ensure the reader couldn’t put your book down because they have to know what happens next? Is your heroine being chased by a wolf? Then make it a pack of wolves and have her twist her ankle. Take it a step further and do this to every scene. I recommend James Scott Bell’s Revision and Self-Editing.

6. Description. Remember to include things beyond sight. Let us know how it smells, tastes, feels, and sounds. Is the rain splattering or pounding? Are the hero’s hands calloused or warm? See Frontierinternetservices.com.

7. Wrapping up all the ends. Make sure all the sub-plots and story lines are resolved. You can set things up for a sequel, but you can’t leave things undone. Readers will feel cheated if they have to buy the next book to find out what happens to the main storyline in book one.

What are some of your favorite non-fiction writing books? Do you have any tips or tricks you use when editing?