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Identifying your Audience: Don’t spin your wheels with those who aren’t interested in what you have to say

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When you start to write your book, it’s essential to know your audience and your market. Identifying your audience will help shape your book throughout the writing process and ensure better sales when it comes time to market and promote your nonfiction book. If you think your book is for everyone, you are setting yourself up for failure. No matter how great your message, it simply cannot appeal to every person! Just like in life, if you try to please everyone, you’ll end up stretching yourself too thin and the result will be a bland final product. When you identify your specific audience, you can reach the people who will be most interested in your story.

Who do you want to reach?

identifying your audienceYour book has a purpose. You wouldn’t be writing it if you didn’t want to reach someone, so exactly who is that? Many people make the mistake of thinking that their audience is just like them, but that’s not always the case. Your ideal audience may be very different from you, so take the time to think about who will be most impacted by your book. Are your readers women between 20 and 40? Can you narrow that down to women who have also been to college? It may seem counter-intuitive to narrow in on a specific group, but when you target a specific audience, you can increase your following within that niche group and reach more people than if your audience is too broad.

Pick a genre

Part of identifying your audience is selecting the correct genre. A genre is a general term that refers to a particular classification or type of book. We already know that your book will fall into the nonfiction genre, but where else does your book fit?

Remember, bookstores categorize books by genre, so the genre you choose is critically important. What section of the bookstore will your ideal reader go to in order to find the kind of help you offer? Make sure your book ends up on the right shelf — the one that best suits your ideal reader.

Identifying your audience and market, is there a difference?

Audiences and markets often overlap, but not always! Your audience is the people who will read and benefit from your book. Your market is the people who will actually purchase the book. Take a minute to picture your book buyers. Are they in your target market? For example, if your target reader is a child, your market is probably the parents, the people who have the money to spend on the book.

Identify secondary markets

Many books will have a primary and secondary market. Secondary markets are people/organizations/institutions who will also benefit from your book. Secondary markets may include mental health practitioners if you are writing about depression or a particularly difficult time in your life, or educators if you are writing about children. If you are writing about money management, high school and university counselors could be a secondary market because they might recommend the book to their students. If you are writing about blogging for business, parents of hopeful bloggers could easily become a secondary market. Think about every possibility! You should have several secondary markets, so be sure to analyze which people, organizations, or groups could benefit from your book.

Start with an audience, finish with a successful book

Keep your target audience in mind every step of the way. Write for your audience, identify your markets, and reach out to them with your solution!


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