How do you market to groups if your book has an anti-group theme?

My latest book is literary fiction. I'm not sure what the genre is but I suspect it is psychological or religious. As soon as people think of "religious fiction," they automatically assume "Christian fiction."

However, my book is not about Christianity but a made up cult. It shows the dangers of cults but it isn't exactly an atheist book and most of the research I have done shows that most books that are anti cult are targeted to atheists  The novel shows all perspectives so it is hard to find a group to target it too, given that it is such a heated topic. 

So, if you have a book that shows the dangerous of group thinking, how do you target it to a particular group? Also, where are the people who aren't just looking for light reading but who want to read something that challenges them intellectually? I find that most people who are into that mostly read non-fiction. 

Any suggestions?

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The only genre I can think of that might suit is 'controversial fiction'.  Is it YA?  Perhaps labeling it as 'social realist' would indicate that it is heavy reading. 

Thanks Hannah,

I will put controversial fiction and social realist on the tags. 

It isn't considered YA, though some of the characters are young, it has some very heated topics.

Search cults and dangerous cults on Amazon and see what comes up. Then see what genre they put it in. 

I'd read a book about cults and I'm not christian. I like the psychological aspect of it. Did you put  brain washing as a tag? 

Thanks Jeanne,

I notice I can't put tags on amazon anymore so now I'm limited to only seven tags. I wonder why that is.

If you are interested, you can get my book on kindle:

You can get the paperback here and will be available for international distribution in a few weeks:

Most search engines only search the first 7 words so you really don't need any more than that. It's probably why Amazon limits it. 

I'll check out the book! Thanks!

My thought is that novels generally aren't marketed based on their themes. The themes don't necessarily provide provocative hooks.

Is your protagonist in physical danger? If so, can you call your book a thriller? Does the novel contain any non-realistic elements? Then maybe it's science fiction or horror. Is there a love story running through it? Then maybe it's a romance.

Hi Richard,

I suppose it is a thriller. My protagonist and other members are often in danger for their lives. The first half of the book explains how she was manipulated into being a member and the second half is about how some of the members start realizing that they made a mistake and one event leads to another, pulling them into very life threatening and desperate situations. I wonder if my summary really reflects that. Another thing I am afraid of is the fist part of the book which is a very intimate journey of how this girl gets pulled into the cult doesn't pull people in because they don't see it as a threat. 

My editor advised me not to change this because the explanation of how she was pulled in is what makes the story believable. He did say to expect some people to be shocked by the change in the middle of the book and others to lose interest in the beginning because it doesn't pull them into the action right away.

I really appreciate the feedback. I'm wondering if the book is just packaged wrong. This is the summary:

When Maggi turns eighteen and realizes that she has nothing to show for it, she looks for meaning by joining a church of people called “Enlightened Ones,” led by the enigmatic John Cronus. As she is pulled deeper into this organization, the stories of its people are unveiled and how they all joined the church seeking their own form of fulfillment. The followers give up all their worldly possessions to start a commune on a distant island paradise. Will they find the utopia they seek, or will they get pulled into a menace that is even darker than the lives they left behind? 

Honestly, I do think your summary could do with some tinkering. You might want to take it apart and see if each sentence, as written, adds any sizzle. Then, once you're sure all the individual parts add something worth adding, make sure the whole thing flows.

For example, consider this bit: "the stories of its people are unveiled and how they all joined the church seeking their own form of fulfillment." Is that vivid and intriguing enough to make a prospective reader want to buy the book? If you encountered that line in somebody else's book description, would it help make you want to buy the novel?

Thanks Richard, I appreciate all the tips. I will do exactly that!  ;D

My latest draft:

Taken aback by the generous and caring “Enlightened Ones,” Maggi leaves her abusive home for what is now her true family. Led by their Enigmatic leader, John Cronus, the Enlightened Ones believe they are building towards a beautiful utopia; one they feel will be the dawning of a new way of life.

 The past lives of all involved begin to unravel as they give up all their possessions to build paradise on a remote island. Have the Enlighten Ones taken the road less traveled, or have they sealed their fate with a madman?

Enlightened Ones are required to feel a great sense of trust, love, and freedom, but what happens when the rules change? What will they do when they realize paradise isn’t ready? How will they handle it when their sense of trust is questioned? In a society where betrayal is not an option, what will they stoop to in order to escape, and who will take the blame when their plans mistakenly lead to one of the greatest tragedies of their time?

Now do you want to read it?  Lol


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