Hi everyone-

I have published a work of literary fiction and I am seeking others who have as well and are looking to exchange ideas about marketing and promotion of this type of fiction as well as readers of this type of fiction who are interested in participating in the discussion.

It is a difficult category to sell and particularly so when it is self-published.  Genre fiction seems to be much more prevalent. 

I appreciate everyone's thoughts and ideas.

Thanks :)

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Hi, Sherry,

I feel your pain. I have two novels that are "sorta" romance but don't really fit the genre neatly (got myself in trouble over that when I positioned the first as a romance too btw!). And my 3rd novel is a comic satire which is impossible to slot as well.

I'm certainly happy to share what I know and/or have figured out so far . . .

How would you sub-categorize your literary fiction?  I write literary fantasy/paranormal and I agree, it isn't an easy market for the independent author, even within the familiar framework of a specified genre. Traditionally published authors such as Charles de Lint, Thomas Ligotti, Anne Rice, among others, write in the fantasy/paranormal/horror genre with a definite literary style and so there is an audience, but it remains difficult to convince dedicated readers of literary fiction to take a chance on an unknown, self-published author.  You could try Galley Cat on Facebook if your book is a recent release.  There are a couple of sites that will feature your work if you have at least 10 U.S. Amazon reviews with a 4+ rating.  This will give your work some exposure. 

The most essential thing is to keep writing...and publishing.

You guys, we need to band together, and find more writers like us. Part of the issue is that retailers like Amazon don't have the right categories and/or subcategories for their novels. Perhaps if we get enough voices we could get them to change . . . not saying it would happen tomorrow, but what do you say?

Hi Kirsten-

Thanks for commiserating with me :)  I think that the subcategories would help your work.  I am not so sure I need a subcategory as much as I need to locate the audience for literary fiction.  If you read what I wrote in my reply to Myna, you see the dilemma I am facing.

However, with all that being said I would love to exchange ideas with you and perhaps together we could brainstorm ideas that work for authors who are connected with the audience they need.

Good luck and thanks so much for your comments!

Sherry :)

 I don't really remember a time before now when there were so many categories and sub-categories.  There was romance, literary fiction, mystery.  If I had to sub-categorize it, I would say women's fiction.

I find that with literary fiction there is an expectation that there will be a pedigree of publication attached due to many considering it to be a "pretentious" category of writing. Ironically, the"big 6" are taking fewer works of literary fiction due to it's underwhelming mass market success.  It is sort of a vicious circle.  But I have to believe that there is an audience seeking stories without so much consideration of the story's origin of publication. The rub is finding these audiences :)

I also find it humorous that most sites only want brand new books as though books spoil like milk?! 

Ahh, regardless I appreciate your thoughts and I wish you luck on this bumpy road of writing :)


Thanks Dan for your comments.

I am on Goodreads but I find it to be so saturated that it is hard to hone in on a particular category or audience.  I think most reviewers have a niche but I love to hear that yours is so targeted.  If you would consider reviewing my book, I could send you information and a free copy but no pressure :)  Just hard to find reviewers like you.

Thanks again :)

Hi Dan-

Thank you for accepting my book for review.  I can definitely send you a copy.  Would you also accept a Mobi file/e-version?  And I don't mind the wait, I understand that you must be busy.

In regards to Goodreads, you have given me some good information and advice.  You're right in that I am a bit overwhelmed by it and I just need to dive in and find out what works.  Your tips are a great way to start :)

And I will definitely take you up on the offer to answer more questions :)

Thanks again,


P.S.  Let me know your preference in the book format.

Yo, jumping in on this too. I've recently teamed up with a young independent company that's just at a year old. In the literary world they are still babies but in our new partnership we've reformatted our whole marketing platform. One reason I admittedly try to sway self published authors into an independent company, like ours, is because of this reason. We've researched and are constantly researching. For those of you who wish to remain self published there are still faculties you can explore, such as companies who help writers promote, booking blog tours, helping them with networking sites such as forums and facebook sites. Constantly worrying about fitting your book into a specific niche can be a problem from the start. The more general your genre the easier to market obviously. If your book has vampires, it's either paranormal or urban fantasy even if it is a romance, a horror etc etc. If your book is about a woman in the civil war who falls in love with the wrong man on the wrong side of the line, its a historical romance. Not to criticize but often times writers are their own worst enemies by over complicating things. Just because two books are in the same genre doesn't mean they are anything alike. Once you know your genre, your book is finished, the covers done, editing DONE and so on, you can market. Then the hunt is on for who your audience is and where they are. good news! They're everywhere. It takes hours yes, but finding the blogs, the forums, the networks, etc etc isn't too hard if you are willing to put in the time. And if you aren't you need to honestly reconsider self publishing. That or you need the money to hire a good publicist. Someone who will schedule the tours for you, the interviews, the book signings, talk to book stores for you and so on. Remember, google is your best friend. Also, I highly recommend  website. A website can contain everything you need to promo yourself, blogs, forums, ads, affiliates, friends, calendars on where your doing book signings, blog tours where etc etc etc. It's endless. It's not that we have no way to market, its honestly there is so many options its overwhelming. Where does one begin?

My books are historical romance/fantasy, so also not too easy to market.  People who love romance are put off by the fantasy aspect and those who love the fantasy get annoyed with too much romance.  There are some authors who have been very successful in this genre, but I can only think of a few.  It's not easy to reach your target market without finding a way of riding on their coat tails.  I would love to hear any suggestions you might have for marketing.  I found Amazon KDP's promotions to be helpful, but the number of downloads decrease with every promotion.  Have you found anything that works well?

Irina Shapiro




Hi Sherry, I love literary fiction, and the women's fiction aspect as well! If you are looking for reviewers, I'd be happy to read a summary to see if I'd be a good match. :)  When I first started following other bloggers, I found it difficult to find blogs by others who really liked to read and review literary fiction. Once I found a few I really liked, it was easier to find more via the blogs they follow. I can see how it must be difficult for authors, though!

Hi Monika-

Thanks for your response and comment as well as your willingness to take a look at my book.  You can find more information about it and me at http://redroom.com/member/sherry-parnell.  If you have any other questions, please let me know.

I am glad that we connected because, like you, I really enjoy this type of fiction but find it hard to locate others.  I see what you mean where it truly can become a chain reaction.  Perhaps you could even share some of these blogs with me.

Thank so much and I look forward to hearing from you again soon :)

Hi Marie-

Where to start....   That seems to be the question with which most of us struggle :)

I think just having this dialogue is helpful.  There are so many people in this community who are so willing to share their information and offer their help.  I am seeing that it is a matter of finding "your" audience.  The difficulty that I have discovered is finding them.  And that seems to be done through speaking and networking with others.

Writing is subjective.  It is a matter of taste and we all have different tastes so it seems that what must be done is finding those who like your style and story.  So many people have already written some great advice and given good tips.  If you haven't, I encourage you to read through the comments.  And please let's continue to share information and have a dialogue with each other :)



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