SFFMP 140: Publishing in an Underserved Genre and Helping to Build a Community with Veronica Scott

On today’s show, we talked about publishing in an underserved niche that’s too small to attract the attention of the Big 5 but that could potentially be lucrative to authors. Our guest was paranormal and science fiction romance author, Veronica Scott, and we also discussed some of the many things she’s doing to foster growth and awareness of the SFR genre among readers who might be interested. Even though we talked about scifi romance specifically, the interview might be of interest to other authors writing in smaller niches or doing cross-genre fiction. We discussed some of the challenges of marketing these types of books.

Here are some of the specifics that we covered:

  • The challenges of marketing books that don’t fall into the main categories on Bookbub and other promo sites.
  • The opportunities that indies have by writing in sub-genres or niches that are too small to interest traditional publishing.
  • Surfing through also-boughts on Amazon and also using the YASIV tool for finding related books and authors to target as keywords for ads.
  • How scifi romance has gotten more competitive over the last few years and whether it’s still possible for new authors to break in and reach the Top 100.
  • Some of the key reader expectations in SFR and differences between romances and scifi with “romantic elements.”
  • Common mistakes authors make with covers.
  • The blurb-writing service that Veronica uses: Cathryn Cade.
  • The cover designer that she uses: Fiona Jayde.
  • Why fostering a community can be useful, especially in a smaller niche, and how Veronica has gone about doing it.
  • Veronica Scott’s USA Today Happy Ever After blog column.
  • Her stance on newsletter swaps and newsletters in general.
  • Whether permafree series starters are viable in this genre.

You can find Veronica on her website, on Amazon, and on Twitter, and also check out her book inspired by the Titanic, Wreck of the Nebula Dream, or her latest release, Danger in the Stars.

 

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7 comments

  • Wa

    Veronica’s volume is extremely low. I had to increase the overall volume to max which made the interviewers voices too loud, but it was still a struggle to hear the guest. Is there any way the volume can be normalised?

    • SFFpodcast

      We did our best, Wa. Sometimes the guests don’t have things set up for calls, and she wasn’t able to get her sound any louder. Sorry about that!

  • I love and respect Veronica Scott. I was new to the scifi romance writing game and she was/is so very gracious to me. I write scifi romance with a window on social justice, and it has the far from traditional main characters, so I knew it getting eyes on it was a looooong shot. What I write is not for everyone. In any case, this lady embodies class and is secure in what she does. She is not threatened by newcomers.

  • E. Marx

    Could your podcast address how to find an editor for a niche genre? I am in the process of writing my first Science Fiction Paranormal Romance, obviously a niche cross over category. I am a little concerned about finding an appropriate editor for a series of this nature. I am worried that if I use a paranormal romance editor they will have difficulty with the science fiction. And I know a straight science fiction editor will find the paranormal and romance aspects unfamiliar. Help?

    • SFFpodcast

      Hi, E! We’re having a just-us episode next week, and I’ll add your question to address on the show. My quick thoughts: if you just need copyediting, it won’t matter. Any editor can handle that. You might just warn them if they haven’t done SF/F before that there will be some made up words and such.

      If you want a developmental edit, that may be trickier. With that, it can make sense to find someone familiar with the genre. I’d probably start with some Googling — sometimes you can find people who work for or worked for publishers and have time to take on indie clients.

      For picking between someone with SF and romance experience, I’d probably go for someone familiar with romance, since it’s very formulaic and has expected conventions, and readers aren’t very forgiving if you stray. It’s not a bad idea to have someone who can say, okay, you’re at 60-70%, and this is usually where the sex happens! Fewer rules in SF. 🙂

      • E. Marx

        Great advice. Thanks! I look forward to hearing the group feedback on the next podcast.

        I had been leaning towards a romance editor. However, the romance is a bit of a slow burn in my series (not quite as slow as Fallen Empire, but close). Possibly more of a strong simmer 😉 Anyway, it sounds like I have a hunt ahead of me.

        Thanks again!
        -E

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