Choosing Your Audience for Your Next Book

It’s easy to think of the creative and marketing portions of your book as two separate things. But, the reality is, the more you overlap the two the more your book will find success. Because a book isn’t good unless it reaches people. It will only reach people if the author knows who its audience it and then brings that audience something that it is looking for. Then, the author can decide the right way to bring that audience the information before starting the writing process. For many writers, that process feels counterintuitive. But successful authors realize that knowing their audience is a key to the entire writing experience.

Choosing Your Audience for Your Next Book

Research Your Audience

The way to find that audience is through research and knowledge of what you plan to write. It’s important to not simply believe you know what your audience wants but to look deeper into it. One of the fundamental flaws writers have when approaching a book is thinking that it can be for everyone. That simply isn’t realistic. All authors appeal to certain groups of people, some larger than others. But the key is pinpointing what those markets are, what they are looking for, and then finding the appropriate way to make them aware of what you are offering. It’s good to identify other publications that the writer is interested in and might be similar to the writer’s topic and then look at their target markets, how expansive they are and how they are targeted. If that range is too large, it would be easy for the work to drown in a deep pool of competition. If the market is too small, there’s a chance of limiting the potential audience to a point that it would eliminate the chance for profitability. The key is finding a happy medium and then allowing for audiences to surprise you with their reach.

Focus On Readership

One of the main obstacles in the process is identifying specifically what that audience is. In some aspects, it’s as simple as looking at what your author brand in, what previous readers were like and how the new work fits into that group. In that case, the writer can monitor online mentions and research that way by joining discussion groups on the matter. If it’s a first book, it’s good to identify other authors that are like-minded and “competitors,” observing their successes and failures and building upon those. Many of those resources can be found online. It’s important that the writer selects a topic that he or she can shed new light on for those already in the know, assuming a solid knowledge base but not going too far in those assumptions while writing in a manner that explains things well without using too much niche jargon. Jargon can limit audience unnecessarily.

Reaching Out

Once the target audience is identified, another factor is then reaching that audience and identifying who the buyer is and who the target reader is. In rare cases, like gifts or children’s books, those two segments are not one and the same. Reaching and identifying that target market is a matter of classifying groups of people using anything from the basics – like age, sex, occupation, nationality, education level, etc. – to deeper thoughts like interests, political and social philosophies, places they visit, things they do and buy, etc. Essentially the more a writer knows about his or her audience the more the author can use that information to increase the effectiveness and ability to reach that audience. Part of that, at this point, goes back to the original identification process.

Find people where they are at and reach them there, leveraging groups and communities that are already in place with like-minded people interested in the author’s work. Are your readers at Barnes and Noble or independent book stores? Are they eBook readers? Amazon or Kobo fans?

By taking all of that into account, the author can know whether he or she is shooting in the right direction and can then change his or her target accordingly.

Small Press Book Publishing Levels Out the Playing Field

Small Press Book Publishing

Writing is generally a tough game to crack. Those who call themselves professional writers must be willing to poor their heart and soul into what they do. There is an inherent need to love the craft and continuously push any boundaries (writer’s block as it’s often referred to) time and time again. Even if a writer has managed to break through the metaphorical wall that is writer’s block and has created something he or she feels is worthy of publication, there is the literal hurdle to overcome with publication. However, these days many writers are choosing to ignore the path followed by most and are instead choosing to go the route of small press book publishing. Getting published through this channel as opposed to through the conventional big publisher route offers jaded writers something more than yet another rejection.

Differences Between Small Press and Big Publishers

Small press publication, such as Merge, offers a real chance to writers who are struggling to get their work out there. It certainly is possible to get books published though well known publishers but it’s very much an uphill battle. With the advent of small press publishing there is now an equal shot for every writer out there. It only makes sense to try this alternative route in order to get one’s foot in the door as opposed to constantly getting rejected. Furthermore, there are a lot of horror stories out there related to writers trying to get their work published with the leaders of the industry. By using small press book publishers there is a greater chance of not only getting work published but also establishing a warmer relationship with publishers. Smaller publishers are very much invested in selecting works related to their specific niches of interest and more often than not the editors will be willing to work with writers to truly create something captivating for the targeted audience. A writer’s book will turn out to be something hand crafted and as unique as it gets. Prospective writers should also be happy to know that their works will stay in publication for a much longer time than with big publishers. Small press publications will not only help struggling writers get their career started but they will also help capture the essence of said writer’s burning passion for the written language.

Small Press Book Publishers Work with Your Niche

After a writer has successfully worked with a publisher, big or small, naturally they will want to get their book in the hands of their prospective audience. Bigger publishers are going to have monumental budgets which means that writer’s have the luxury of having their book plastered in front of many eyeballs. There is no denying that when it comes to advertising big time publishers have the upper hand over small press book publishers. However, this does not mean a small press publisher will not put a writer’s book in circulation. It’s important to remember that smaller publishers are more dedicated to specific niches. So while they might not put a writer’s book in front of millions of random people they will advertise where it counts. These alternative publishers are very well connected with their targeted audience and will do everything they can to get a writer’s book in the hands of that audience.

Consider Small Press Publishers

While many professional writers may consider small press book publishing to be essentially giving up in the world of writing for pay (or leisure for that matter) this couldn’t be further from the truth. This alternative avenue truly offers an even level playing field for writers looking to get their foot in the door. Many times writers even find that they have better luck in the professional sense when using this route of publication. With small press book publishing there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain in the wake of big time publishers never giving most writers the time of day.

Join Merge on #GetBizy

Greetings Merge fans! We will be featured live  on #GetBizy on Tuesday May 27th 2014* *8:00 am PST* (9:00 am MST, 10:00 am CST, and 11:00 am EST)


The guest will be:
Don Stevens (Find Don on Google+:
Marci Diehl (Find Marci on Google+:
Aaron Wood (Find Aaron on Google+:

We will be discussing writing, small press publishing, marketing, and wine. If you miss the event you can always watch it here (just bookmark this page).

Choose a Cover Design for A Taste for Death – Merge Publishing

Choose a Cover Design for A Taste for Death – Merge Publishing

Hello Merge Publishing fans. Once again, we are in need of your help to choose another cover design. We would like to show you two covers for the upcoming book that is being published by Merge. The book is by Don Stevens, a writer in the Finger Lakes area. 

Cover Wars for A Taste for Death by Don Stevens

The book starts with a murder in a vineyard, and it’s the first in a series of  Finger Lakes Wine Mysteries. Here is the description for the book, and we would appreciate your feedback by leaving a comment below. Both covers are drafts and are not final, however, you can choose the style you prefer and the reason.

Please mention the one on the left, or the right, along with some comments.


Thanks again for your help.


5 Tips for a Successful Author Book Signing

5 Tips for a Successful Author Book Signing

Everyone dreams of having their book published. While some authors are pleased with their e-book sales, some authors still love having their books printed. One of the reasons to have your book printed is having an author book signing. We’ve compiled some helpful tips on how to have a successful author book signing when your book is published.

Five Tips for a Successful Author Book Signing

Making Connections

In order to get the book signing started the author must first begin making connections. They must be willing to reach out to bookstores or other places they would like to hold a book signing to persuade the bookstore or other place of choice that having them there signing their books would be the best publicity for their business.

Advertise Your Book Signing

Once the author has been booked for a signing the advertising is not just the responsibility of the business but it is the author’s responsibility as well. Social media such and emails are great tools for this. If the author has a website posts the book signing event on the website to gain interest of the readers. Word of mouth is also helpful so the author should be sure to tell everyone they know the details of the signing because if the author brings in a crowd for the book signing they are likely to get more opportunities whether at the same place or someplace else.

Prepare For Your Book Signing (Books and Pens)

It is important to begin preparing well in advance before the event. The author must make sure all of the books will be in before the signing date so that there are no shortages on books. Of course if it is a book signing the author is going to need pens. Do not bring just one or two but be well prepared with several backup pens. The two most important tools the author will need are books and pens. Pens can be lost, run out of ink, and people sometimes tend to walk off with them. The prepared author will not let that leave them losing time and interest with the public searching for a pen. Having supplies are not the only important part to the being prepared.

Read the Best Excerpts

At many book signings authors read a passage or passages from their book to stir interest of the readers. Be prepared and know what will be read. It should also be practiced ahead of time to reduce nervousness and give an appearance that the author knows and connects with their book.

Merchandising Helps Build Your Brand

A book signing is a great opportunity for authors to bring promotional materials for other publications they may have available especially if they are sold by the business in which the book signing is being held. This is good promotions for both the author and the business. Bookmarks and pens are great items to share contact information with readers. Business cards work well too. This will have your website or author platform, social media channels, and contact info. Sharing contact information with the readers can lead to a larger fan base who may eagerly await new publications. The promotional materials may even intrigue the readers about materials that are coming soon.

Expect the Unexpected

During the book signing the author must be flexible as there are bound to be some surprises or parts that do not go as planned. It is important to stay calm and improvise as needed to keep the event going. Talking to the manager of the bookstore or business prior to the event to know how it will go and what to expect can help eliminate some of the surprises because many places do book signings and they can vary greatly from place to place. Regardless of the expectations and turn of events the author must maintain composure and stay polite.

Even after the event is over the author needs to remember to thank both the readers and staff of the business for their assistance and participation. Thank you notes for the place the event was held will help the author be remembered fondly and may increases chances for future book signings. This will also create a good reference for the author.

Any comments and other tips you have to share? Please leave them below.

What You Don’t Know Now by Marci Diehl

What You Don’t Know Now by Marci Diehl

What You Don't Know Now by Marci Diehl

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Bridey McKenna’s graduation present is meant to be the ultimate mother-daughter vacation, during the one of history’s most important summers — the summer of 1967. Eighteen and in Europe for the first time, nothing is what Bridey expects. Her mother wants to keep her hermetically sealed on the tour bus, safe from all harm. “Harm” in her mother’s terms means having any experiences at all.  Bridey’s chances for adventure, romance and enlightenment look slim-to-none until she arrives in Umbria and meets Alessandro — someone who could change everything about her future. Alessandro is no ordinary singing waiter and he’s the last person on earth her mother wants in her daughter’s life. Bridey’s only hope for things to get better is to connect in Rome with her worldly aunt and uncle — a man who holds a position at the British embassy in Jordan that no one ever quite… defines. When an emergency takes Bridey off the tour, on to Athens and farther into that world than she ever imagined, the complex terrain of family, love and womanhood holds a surprising itinerary. In the summer before college, it’s the education of a lifetime.
Set in Germany, Italy and Greece over a six-week period, What You Don’t Know Now is set in 1967, the famous Summer of Love, when things were not, however, loving in the US or across the world. Just a few years prior, the term Ugly American was born. Graffiti on Autobahn overpasses spelled out hostile feelings about the US involvement in Viet Nam. The story has an international setting as the protagonist travels, and includes the issue of falling in love with a man who is gifted and driven — and the possible consequences of that, versus the character’s own pending launch and ambitions for her life. And it explores the complex territory of love between a mother and daughter who are about to separate into their own lives for the first time.
In 1967, not all young women were hippies passing out flowers in Haight Ashbury. They were making choices and exploring the idea that they might have different options than their mothers, but those choices and options had new consequences and outcomes waiting. I think the theme of loving and letting go — and being let go of — is timeless. My book also includes the fact that even spies have regular family lives! (I know this is true because I had a CIA spy in my family.)

Choose a Cover for Merge Publishing

Greetings Merge Publishing fans. We are in need of your help. We would like to show you two covers for the upcoming book that is being published by Merge. The book is by Marci Diehl, a writer from the Finger Lakes/Rochester area.

Cover Wars for Merge Publishing

Here is the description for the book, and we would appreciate your feedback by leaving a comment below.

Thanks again for your help.

Merge Publishing is Hiring

Merge Publishing is where we merge authors, editors, designers, and everyone in between. Merge is currently looking for editors, proofreaders, and designers for books!

Let’s Merge Together

Merge is a unique concept, When a book sells, not just the author and publisher get paid, but the team who helped the book itself. Every project is special to us, we take time to make sure a book gets the best treatment available, and for this we compensate our team through sales. We actually give royalties to editors, proofreaders, and designers. The talented team continuously gets paid while the book is still published by Merge.

We are planning an aggressive marketing campaign for books to deliver the best possible results.Now Hiring at Merge Publishing

I’d love to chat some more about this opportunity via phone or Google Hangout, with or without video. We are looking for English speaking candidates preferably in the U.S. or Canada.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Don Stevens
Owner and Marketing Director,
Merge Publishing
info [at]

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Merge Publishing Tries Crowdsourcing with Kickstarter

Merge Publishing has opened a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for it’s book launch. Kickstarter is a nifty way to raise money for projects, especially arts and the written word. Other writers and photographers have been successful for their projects and it just made sense to increase our funds the first year of business.

Merge Publishing   Launch and Book Release by Don Stevens — Kickstarter


The goal is to raise $10,000 and we have until . The money raised will help launch the company in 2014 with a better, more effective plan. We can do more when we have more. The funds raised will help with the start up costs of opening Merge, including some marketing and advertising, as well as registration for conference fees.

Kickstarter will only help fund projects if they reach the goal so we are hoping to do this with writers, readers, publishers, and friends everywhere. Anyone who pledges $25 or more will receive a gift.

We plan on releasing 2-4 books this year, possibly more if we can allocate more funds. To help with your contribution visit our project page and get amazing rewards for merging with us. Also, please let your friends know by sharing the project page.