Targeting the market for your book

Hanging on the side of the market stream won’t sell many books. An author has to participate.

by Gina Burgess

Kerry McAvoy started a discussion on our forum that should be near and dear to every author’s heart. How do you target your market?

What a great exercise, Kerry!

It is really hard to market to anyone without knowing exactly what you are marketing. That’s why a 25-word or less blurb is so necessary. How often people ask, “So, what’s your book about?” Then we ramble, stumble, mumble, or grumble without really coming to a focused point. But, if we have that elevator pitch down pat and ready at a moment’s notice, then we can tweak the pitch toward the person we are talking to at that precise moment. The first thing would be to boil down that back cover blurb into a 15-20 second pitch or a 25-word or less pitch. Then target the market that would be most interested in that.
Here are a few questions that might help to target the audience. The first and foremost thing to do is start targeting your audience before you write. Build your platform and half your job is done. That’s why traditional publishers only focus/publish authors who have a following already. Sad but true fact.

1. What type of person or group of people would be interested in the subject you’ve written about? Who is it that needs to hear your message if it’s non-fiction, and who are those avid readers of your genre?
a. Are they geographic?
b. Are they at a certain educational level?
c. Does being married or single matter? If so, which?
d. Does generation, religion, or nationality matter? If so, which?
2. What are some other books that are comparable to yours?
3. Now–what is so special or unique about your book?
a. Does it dig deeper? What’s the Hook?
b. Does it handle a broader spectrum — does it put some round pegs in square holes for a different perspective?
4. Why should a reader trust you enough to purchase your book?
5. What is the psychological impact of what you’ve written?
a. Lifestyle?
b. Urban or rural?
c. Background as in moral values and/or upbringing?
d. What about your book appeals to your readers’: Life events? Goals? Motivations? Beliefs? Interests? Habits? Attitudes?
6.  Research, research, research… Answering the questions above shouldn’t be a guess, or haphazard. Researching your market, finding out who your writing appeals to will help you to find the places where your potential readers will hang out so you can go there and hang out with them. This is how you’ll gain their trust, forge relationships, and get them to want to know more and purchase from you.
7. How to do that research? Google the demographics of the magazines and periodicals that pertain to your topic. Google blogs that are about the topics and start asking questions and commenting on those blogs. I picked up several readers from Michael Hyatt’s blog just by heavy participation there. Kerry wrote a great article about her experience with
a. Google the demographics of the magazines and periodicals that pertain to your topic.
b. Google blogs that are about the topics and start asking questions and commenting on those blogs. I picked up several readers from Michael Hyatt’s blog just by heavy participation there. Kerry wrote a great article about her experience with Quora  Google Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest and other social media in the topic of your book like this: Type in your browser Twitter.com/search then type in what your subject matter is.

c. Google Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest and other social media in the topic of your book like this: Type in your browser Twitter.com/search then type in what your subject matter is. (I typed in Christian Speculative Fiction and got these results twitter.com/search?q=Christian%20speculative%20fiction&src=typd&lang=en  then click on each one of the results to see who follows them. Do the same with other social media like Facebook. Find the groups that are focused on your subject and join the chatter.
d. Notice what kind of hashtags are used, and use those in your posts.

I hope these tips/tricks help you to narrow your audience (but not too narrow) to make your targeting easier to do.

Please comment on the board at: http://authorscommunity.boards.net/thread/65/defining-target-audience?page=1#ixzz4bye4wcUf

If you are not a member, you can register here then click on Community on the navigation bar above and register for forum participation. See you on the boards!

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