by Cynthia Ruchti
Like many authors, I wrote several novels before writing the first one that would be picked up by a publishing house. When working on what would become my debut novel, I didn’t-couldn’t-envision the path ahead.
Celebrating this month’s release of my third full-length novel, fifth fiction work, eighth book in the past four years, I think back to the writer I was then. What would I tell her? How would I encourage her? What counsel would I give her?
One of the things I’d tell her is, “Let’s give them something to talk about.”
It’s not just a country song lyric. It’s a shape-shifter for successful marketing and publicity for our books. Clear, intriguing, interest-piquing talking points about a book, its plotline, its characters, location, or theme can generate blog interviews, radio or television interviews, social media follows, and reader purchases.
Talking points? It’s a story. The whole book is worth talking about, some would insist. But what kind of questions about your novel will spark attention, stir a memory, offer a conversation starter? Beyond the storyline, what is it within your book that will prompt a reader to mention it over dinner or buy a copy for a friend?
How would a publicity team present your novel for potential interviews? Let’s give them something to talk about.
Some of the talking points for All My Belongings include:
• Caregiving as a rite of passage. Before our lives are complete, most of us will serve as a caregiver.
• The reasons for stepping into a caregiving role are many. Blessings and challenges battle for dominance every day of the process.
• Caregiving isn’t reserved for perfect people.
• Create a mosaic future from bits of a broken past.
Your novel’s talking points may look more like this:
• What do we know about autism that we didn’t five years ago?
• Even on Mars, manners matter.
• How did the repeater rifle changed the battlefield…and history?
• What did the Gold Rush days reveal about the human spirit?
Nonfiction is an easier radio interview sell, we’re told. Thinking through our novel’s talking points can prompt bloggers and radio hosts to scramble for a chance to talking about it.
Talking points always trace back to points of interest for the reader (or the host and audience). Not what we found particularly intriguing in our research or during the writing process, but what readers will find fascinating or beneficial.
If the book offers nothing to talk about, it may stir no more conversation than this:
“Well, how was it?”
Imagine the difference-not only to make a publicist’s job easier but to increase reader satisfaction-if the conversation moved from “Pretty good” to “Good book. Boy meets girl.”
“In an insane asylum in the 1600s.”
“Can’t stop thinking about it. Did you ever wonder what you’d do if you had to sacrifice everything for the one person who’d made your life miserable?”
Writers, let’s give them something to talk about.
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and speaking events for women and writers. Her most recent of nine books are When the Morning Glory Blooms, Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices, and All My Belongings, a novel which released just this month, so she’s busy compiling the list of “talking points” from those she wove into the storyline. You can connect with her at www.cynthiaruchti.com or www.facebook.com/CynthiaRuchtiReaderPage.