Big cities like New York and L.A. get plenty of literary attention, but did you know that setting your book in a smaller city–especially one you have a real-life connection to–can have big advantages?
Mystery author Roger Johns went to college in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. And since the town has always had a special place in his heart, he decided to set his Wallace Hartman mysteries there. This was a smart move, as the relative scarcity of books set in Baton Rouge helped Roger’s books stand out from the highly competitive mystery crowd.
Books Forward highlighted Roger’s local connection and tenaciously pitched Baton Rouge media, which responded well to the series. We landed a full page spread in the local newspaper (which has a 100,000+ daily circulation), a feature in Southern Distinction magazine and made a splash on local radio.
Roger’s local connection also caught the interest of indie booksellers, who were eager to promote a book set in their backyard–and his fun and gregarious nature did the rest! We knew he’d be perfect for events, and prioritized his book tour to give him a chance to shine. Roger happily hit the road and appeared at multiple bookstores, festival and conferences. The many personal connections he made with booksellers and readers ultimately paid off, securing him return-spots at events in the coming year.
Leaning into your local connections, no matter how “small,” can give your book a big boost!