Marketing your finished novel to agents and publishers
The editor says

Marketing notes from my editor

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Getting old by Mo FanningReady to look at marketing your finished book. Maybe I can help?

Last time round, I talked about how editorial feedback made me think again about something as basic as the character names and elements of setting. How the current market expects certain things.

She went further and gave me helpful tips to help pitch the finished product – and I thought I’d share them with you – even if you might be direct competition. That’s how wonderful I am.

Does your title fit?

My working title (and the one I’ve used on this site) is ‘Since you’ve been gone’ – it’s a story of how a life changes after someone moves out. In terms of marketing this book as a commercial proposition, she suggests a rethink. ‘Since you’ve been gone’ fits with a sad story: an emotional family drama. My story is more hopeful and uplifting. She suggests titles that reference the central setting of a café or food. Ora title that evokes the setting of Brighton, or being by the sea or a summer romance.

Practical considerations

Word count of 72k is perfect for this area of the market. And let’s face it, we all still wonder if people have attention spans. Ten years back, anything under 80k was madness. But the golden rule remains. Take as many words as you need to tell the story well. That said, I can’t see rom-com publishers welcoming a 140k word saga.

When submitting, she suggested I include a short book blurb of approx. 300 words or less. Essentially boiling down the copy into a concise, snappy overview of the story, bringing out the central themes of the book. A shoutline, that would sit nicely on the front cover of the book is also recommended. Do some of the marketing for whoever you want to win over.

Your influences

Some editors warn against this, but mine reckons it’s always useful to say which books or authors you feel your writing is comparable to in a covering letter to help place you in the market. And that can work both ways, some publishers might not need ‘the next Marian Keyes’ – in which case it’s best you make sure they know that’s what you are (before everyone ends up disappointed a year down the line).

I hope these tips help you as much as they have me.

By Mo Fanning

Mo Fanning is a British author of dark romantic comedies including the Book of the Year nominated bestseller 'The Armchair Bride', 'Rebuilding Alexandra Small' and 2022's hit holiday romcom 'Ghosted'.

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