Selling Books, Part Two: Target Audience

Let me ask you a question. What are the most powerful words in any language? These words are compelling and recognizable, yet exclusive to each individual. These words are distinctive and will catch your attention whether they are written, printed, or spoken.

Any guess? The most powerful words in any language is a person’s own name. Companies do everything possible to “personalize” their products and services to each customer. At the very least, companies must provide a personal experience so the customer remains loyal.

Authors need to have that same way of thinking. Your books should be personalized to your reader. How is that done? By giving the reader exactly what they want in a book. If you are in this for the long term, then your readership must be more important than your own needs.

The simplest way to narrow down your target market is to imagine the reader while you are writing the book, or doing a redraft. Do not think of thousands of people. Just think of one person.

Answer these questions about your reader: (To make this easier, pretend for a moment that your reader is a character in your book. Have some fun answering the questions.)

  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • What is their race?
  • Where do they live? (Major city? Suburb? Rural town?)
  • Do they live in a large house? Apartment? Condo?
  • What is the value of their home?
  • Where do they work? (Or go to school?)
  • Are they upper-class, middle-class, lower-class?
  • What is their education? (Or grade?)
  • What kind of clothes do they wear?
  • How many children do they have? (Or if your reader is a youth, how many brothers and sisters do they have?)
  • Age of children?
  • Are the parents divorced? Remarried?
  • What do they drive? (Lexus? Minivan? Bicycle?)
  • Who do they associate with?
  • What are their favorite hobbies?
  • Where are they Friday night? (Bar? Club? Movies? Home?)
  • Where do they go on vacation? (Or maybe they stay home.)
  • What is their favorite store?
  • Do they belong to a club? Organization? Church group? Volunteer?
  • Do they read blogs? If so, what is the theme of the blog?
  • Do they use social media? Which ones?
  • Do they spend time surfing the Internet? Where do they go?
  • How many minutes or hours does the reader spend on line?
  • What type of books do they read? (Digital or print?)
  • What are their top three favorite places to shop?
  • What are their political affiliations?
  • What kind of social influence do they have? High, medium, low, nonexistent? (For example, if they posted something on Facebook, how many people would comment on that post?)
  • What kind of emotions to they have?
  • What kind of emotions do they want to have?

After finishing this exercise, you will have a detailed reader in mind. Of course, not all readers are the same, but you should have a good idea of which type of reader will purchase your books.

And if you think businesses do not go through this exercise, you are wrong. In fact, major companies break down those details even more. Why is this important? So you can answer the following questions:

  • Who is your customer?
  • Where is your customer?
  • What will I say to the customer?
  • How should I reach the customer?
  • Why will the customer purchase my book?

Today, we are focusing on the “Who is your customer?” and “Where is your customer?” In the next blog, we’ll focus on how to reach the customer and what you should say to the customer.

As for right now, here is the next step. Go over the questions and your answers. If you had to choose the most important reason a specific reader is your fan, what would it be? I cannot guide you in that process. You know your reader better than anyone. What stands out as the most important question/answer?

Then, go over the list again and pick the second most important factor to knowing your reader. Do this five times.

Why did you have to make the larger list? Because, it was a process. You had to think about your reader in detail, but also discover the most important details, along with areas you should focus.

What did you accomplish by going through this exercise?

  • You know everything about your readers and where to locate them.
  • You know what entertains your readers in a book.

Next, you need to find inexpensive ways to build your fan base. Also, you need to use each minute you spend on marketing in the most productive way. But for right now, just think about your readers…

Ron Knight  

When you are ready to take your career to the next level, talk to Melissa at Brand Eleven Eleven.

Ron Knight

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