How do you market your books? Do you tend to market them to men or women? Obviously we want everyone to read our books, but many naturally fall into a female/male divide.
With the exception of books with “Women” or “Men” in the title, I don’t see today’s book marketing to be especially drawn by these lines. Rather, the book is presented and the reader chooses what to buy.
As with last week, let’s take a fun trip down the proverbial Memory Lane with ads that were geared to women. Daddy kept car races and football on the TV most of the time (he still does) and seeing these corresponding ads helped me, as a little girl, get a glimpse of what it might be like to be a woman one day.
To wit, the voiceover for these three Virginia Slims cigarettes ads scoffs at “the fat cigarettes men smoke.”
Benson and Hedges was marketed to men, so held no appeal for me. Except for the cool song.
Ace was the place with the helpful hardware man. Ironically, there’s a woman in the front row!
Here is an ad for Soft N Dri. Shouldn’t a female octopus know a thing or two (or eight) about underarms? I liked that the octopus was a cartoon, even though her voice was a bit husky. She sounds like the Virginia Slims voiceover, doesn’t she?
Even as late as the 1980s, Secret was billed as “Strong enough for a man but made for a woman.”
Mercury Cougar seemed to gear this ad to women. I want mine in red!
I’m still a sucker for women-centric marketing. I bought this Women’s Study Bible for myself:
I leave you with the cool Benson and Hedges theme song, “The Dis-advantages of You” by The Brass Ring. Visit the link. You know you want to!
Do your books appeal more to men or women?
How do you reach your intended audience?
Just for fun, what do you think is the coolest theme song ever?
I’m not sure where it came from but there was a song we sang as child about Winston cigarettes. It’s lyrics went like this: Winston tastes bad like the last one I had. No filter, no paper, just a roll of cotton picking paper. Haha!! I’d like to think men and women would like my romantic suspense because of the action, but I think more women love reading about a developing romance. What’s more romantic than a strong, handsome man rescuing her from danger? However, if there’s enough realistic action, some men would show an interest.
Correction: Well, that old song was supposed to read in my post above…Winston tastes bad like the last one I had. No filter, no flavor, just a roll of cotton picking paper.
Tamela, what a fun post! Don’t know that this is the coolest theme song ever, but over the years it’s stayed with me (even though we rarely eat there.) And I guess it could apply to all…
“Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us, have it yourrrr way at Burger King…”
Great post on a question I’ve been pondering, Tamela. I’m writing historical novels where a developing romantic relationship is woven through a plot that is a quest or a thriller. They aren’t genre romances because the reader spends a lot of time in the POV of the male characters who aren’t part of the romantic pair. Their conflict with the romantic lead is over more than a woman.
I think the appeal will be mainly to women because of the focus on characters in deep emotional conflict, whether romantic or not. Still, a beta reviewer of the original omniscient versions of the first two was a male journalist and technical writer who is also writing fiction. He said he really enjoyed the stories. I stressed that I wanted all the negative feedback he could give, so I don’t think he was just being nice.
The barrier to picking up male readers is marketing. Cover design for male and female would take totally different approaches, and the back-cover blurb would have to be different. My covers will all include images of people more likely to pull in a relationship reader than a quest reader. I’ve found a superb cover designer (Roseanna White – yes, THAT Roseanna White), and I’m planning on having her do the whole Light in the Empire series. I’m not sure how she would create a cover that worked equally well for men and women.
I’m with you. The overall design of a book is a big factor on male/female readership.
I think my books would appeal more to a young female audience, since it usually deals with a more relational story.
Still trying to figure out how my target audience ticks. Maybe writing my own jingle would help. Hmm…
Hey, girls, you know what’s cool?
Reading, when you’re not in school.
____ is the book for you
if you want an adventure or 2,
or 3, or 4…
To boredom say goodbye,
And go out and buy, buy, buy!
Er…maybe not. :p
Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D.
It is so interesting that you brought up the topic of marketing to men or women. My book Suddenly Single (still seeking an agent) was originally written for two men in my life who had unexpectedly become unmarried but several widows that I told about begged for a book for themselves. Finding out through research that women buy more books than men, I flipped the book and put my general financial information for everyone first, the ladies’ section next, and the men’s section last (sorry guys!). I hope that this works for all concerned!
My favorite theme song is just about any commercial written by Barry Manilow. That might “age” me, but he was brilliant on his theme songs, except for the vacuum cleaner one where he sings about how it really……well, you know what vacuums do…..
You gave me a laugh with your last line, Sheri. The way word usage changes can cause problems! At lunch with my retired science and engineering buddies yesterday, one asked how I dealt with the changing understanding of marriage and other romantic relationships in my novels. I told him I solved that by writing during the Roman Empire, not contemporary. I would think the problem would be even bigger writing YA, where what words mean can change every week.
I like the Oscar Meyer theme song and the “My Buddy” song. A friend of mine used to sing it: “My Buddy, My Buddy. Wherever he goes, I go. It’s My Buddy and me together, you see, ’cause I love My Buddy, and My Buddy loves me.” (That advertised the My Buddy doll.)
I was thinking about the male/female issue today. I was thinking about test marketing a few parts of my book this spring. I thought of women only. Men might like some of it, but it seems more geared to women. I am now planning to try both and see what happens. Sometimes men surprise me in what they like or will try.
Gravatar is supposed to show my face using the alternate email address above, but it still hasn’t decided to use it.
Since I write with women only in mind, I rarely market to men. However, I’ve learned a few guys have read (& even enjoyed!) my novel because, they said, it helped them gain a better understanding of women.
So I guess that’s how I’d market to men. 🙂
Tamela Hancock Murray
Thank you all so much for commenting! I’ve enjoyed your insights.