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.
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.
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.