Promoting Your Novel: Using the Story’s Props

By Guest Author, Eris Field

Authors use props—objects, food, music, accessories, hobbies, animals, and many other things—to support their characters and move them through different scenes, and they use props to provide subtle cues to the reader as to how to feel about the characters. The props in your story can also be used to promote your novel.

In my latest novel, Abbey’s Search for Sanctuary, I used four props to promote the book.

Pistachios

One of nature’s best aphrodisiacs. Pistachios orchestrated the initial meeting of the hero and heroine in Abbey’s Search for Sanctuary. Pistachios from different areas of Middle Eastern countries have distinctive qualities. The hero favored pistachios from Siirt and the heroine those from Antep.

I emailed Nut Companies handling pistachios from the Middle East describing my book. Two companies offered to include news about it in their Newsletter. On their Facebook ads, I commented on the role of pistachios in my novel and how to obtain the book.

Bittim Soap

Renowned for its healing properties. Bittim soap is made from wild pistachio oils. The Turkish government supports the making of Bittim soap in order to provide poor refugee women, many widowed by the war, a way to earn money to support their children. The soap has a long history– centuries long–of helping with skin problems and for healing cuts and scrapes.

I wrote the Bittim soap company and described the role their soap played in my novel. In addition, I used Facebook to share a picture of the cover of my book and a description of the inclusion of Bittim soap in the novel. I also wrote to organizations that support women describing the soap, the women who make it, and my book.

Oya Lace

The intricate lace edging made and worn by women in the Middle East. Oya lace is a secret language of women conveyed through its colors and designs. For example, a headscarf with an edging of black and gray thread worked in a pepper pattern could indicate an unhappy marriage. Finding a way to use Oya lace to promote my book was not easy.

I contacted Middle Eastern organizations holding bazaars and described my book and its coverage of Oya lace. In time, a group that supported the rebirth of the skill of making Oya lace responded and said that they were glad to hear about the coverage I had provided and they thought it would increase interest in Oya lace. They added my book to their newsletter.

Turkish Wines

Crisp white wines and rich Malbec. Although many assume that Turkey, a predominately Muslim country, is not a major wine producer, in recent years wine growers have discovered that Turkey with its long sunny days and favorable soil produces delicious wines. One of the wine producers is in Sulva Bay, a part of Turkey well known to people around the world and particularly those from New Zealand for the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War.

Although Turkish wines are well known in Europe, they are scarce in this country. I wrote to the large wine producers in Turkey but did not have any response. Finally, I wrote to Turkish Wines, not realizing that it was the official National Organization of Turkish Wine Producers. I received a polite note saying they had received my email.

Using your novel’s props to promote your book is a fascinating undertaking. There are many avenues open and sometimes one leads to another.

Meet Eris Field

Hometown Guest Author Headshot

As an impoverished student nurse at Albany Hospital, Eris met her future husband, an equally impoverished Turkish surgical intern who told her fascinating stories about the history of Turkey, the loss of the Ottoman Empire, and forced population exchanges.

 

After years of working as a nurse, teaching psychiatric nursing, and raising a family, Eris now writes novels–international, contemporary romances that incorporate her interest in psychiatry, history, people from different cultures, and the problems of refugees.

 

Although the characters in Eris’s novels are often from other countries—The Netherlands, Turkey, and Kurdistan— her novels are often set in Western New York—the land of Father Baker, Jericho Road Refugee Center, the Buffalo Bills, Wings, and all kinds of snow.

About Becky Robinson

Becky is the founder and CEO of Weaving Influence, the founder of Hometown Reads, and a champion of the #ReadLocal Movement.

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What People Are Saying

  • Your tying of story props to marketing efforts, nuts, soaps, lace…even your description of reaching out to companies and groups made me extra intrigued by your story. For my second self-published memoir/with how-to tips, I delivered promotional copies with a cover letter to firms in my city who are in the eldercare business I was writing about. Your props have flavor and fragrance and texture — nice!

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