Money on a hook

How Do You Find Newsworthy Hooks In Your Story?

There’s one thing I’m convinced of: If Solarversia is going to be a success, I’m going to have to work very, very hard on the marketing side. Seth Godin, in his advice for authors post, reckons the marketing should start 3 years before the publication date. Wowzers. I don’t know whether he was specifically referring to non-fiction books, the kind he always writes. I don’t have 3 years. But I did start my marketing plan the day that I started to write my book, which will be about 18 months before its publication date. I know exactly who I’m targetting (people who love the book Ready Player One by Ernie Cline) and the message I have for them:

I’m writing a similar book. Solarversia = RPO – dystopia – the 80s references, set in 2020 rather than 2046

I’ve been finding lovers of RPO on Amazon, Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. Once I establish contact with them (by sending them to my About page) I have something of value to offer them – a free, advance copy of Solarversia, and the chance to play the Amazon Reviewer’s Game. So far, so good. But what else can I do? I recently bought the (excellent) box set, The Indie Author Power Pack, and thoroughly recommend it to all authors, indie or otherwise. One of the books within the pack is How To Market A Book by the brilliant Joanna Penn. Here’s an excerpt that I’ve thinking hard about:

No one cares that you have written a book.

Seriously, it is not news that there is yet another book in the world by yet another author. We think we are special snowflakes, but most people are busy with their lives and won’t notice unless we hook their attention with something that is relevant and interesting or entertaining. So you have to find ways to make you and your work story-worthy if you want to get media attention.

How do you find a newsworthy hook?

You have to find the story within your story, and that will either be about you or about aspects of your book. The same rules apply whether we’re talking about fiction or non-fiction.


Great advice! It’s got me thinking about the story within the story: all the things that someone, somewhere, might care about. I’ve been working on a list, and keep remembering other hooks, however small, all the time. Once the book’s been published (and hopefully, got some good reviews!) I can then go through the list and contact the people / blogs / newspapers / magazines that might be interested in one of them. Like Joanna mentions later in her book, all of these actions, however small, have a habit of adding up (compounding over time).

The book’s Themes

AI, Robotics, Job losses due to automation, VR, AR, Mimesis, Fractals, Maths, romance, friendship, grief, vengeance, trying to better oneself, the use of games as a means of self-improvement / self-understanding, growing up, resolving conflict, terrorism, cults

The book’s Locations

Maidstone, Nottingham (the University, Hugh Stewart Hall, The Goose Fair), Seattle, Shoreditch, The Olympic Park, Baltimore, Central London (an exciting race that takes in many of the tourist attractions!), The Mississippi Delta

The book’s Inspirations

Gogmagog inspired by Relative Insight, The Fun Labs inspired by Inition, Krazy Karting inspired by Mariokart, Exhibits and Bucket Lists inspired by my time at Burning Man, Arkwal’s name based on Integral Theory’s AQAL, The Player’s Grid was inspired by The Million Dollar Home Page, The Golden Grid and the Golden Tickets were inspried by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Computer Sushi was inspired by Obi Wan Kenobi and an episode of Black Mirror


And then there’s all the stuff I’ve done in my life, all the people I’ve met, the list goes on. The point I think, is that every book out there contains a wealth of marketing hooks. You just need to identify them, and then act on them. This article will serve as a reminder for me to act on them, next year, leading up to the publication date. I’m going to comb the list, reach out to the relevant people, companies, and media organisations with a personalised email telling them exactly why they should care about it. The specific details will be minor, and most people won’t care about them. But the ones who do will write about it, blog about it, tweet about it. And some of them might even want to read the book.


Feature Photo credit to Tex Credits as per Flickr

Available under Creative Commons license

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Solarversia is brought to you by Toby Downton