As a writer, you may enjoy the solitary pursuit of writing, but one thing’s for sure—when your book is finished you’ll want get it in the hands of readers. The best way to do that is to start now, even as you write your book, to attract your audience.
You may have heard the old adage that it takes seven touches to make a sale. In book marketing, that has held true. Your audience needs to hear what you’re about, to learn to respect you as you prove your expertise, and to become interested in you and enticed by what you have to say, well in advance of a purchase.
1. Define Your Audience
Before you can attract an audience, you need to know who they are. Of course, your readers are your audience, but who are they? Picture them as they walk in the bookstore. What do you see? Is it women between the ages of 30 and 50? Parents who want to instill values in their children? Business owners who are short of cash?
The key is to figure out who your audience is before you begin writing your nonfiction book because that’s the group you will influence, the group you will impact, and the group you will target when your book is complete.
2. Define Your Book’s Market
Isn’t your audience the same as your market? Not necessarily. Your market is the people/organizations/institutions that will purchase your book. For example, if you are writing a book for children, children are your audience, but they’re not your market. Your market is the person with the pocketbook – the parents.
Think about those people/organizations/institutions that might purchase your book, for example, educators if you’re writing about children, or mental health practitioners if you are writing about walking conquering depression. Try to identify at least six markets for your book – a primary market and five secondary markets. You’re going to use this information when you start reaching out to potential customers, so be thorough.
3. Classify Your Book
Part of knowing your audience is knowing where your book fits in relation to other books. In other words, what is it’s genre?
The term genre simply means a particular classification or type of book, and there are two main genres in writing: fiction and nonfiction. There are numerous sub-genres within each of these genres, and you need to know where your book fits. Why is this important? It’s important to you because you want to reach a certain audience, and people often select the books they read according to genre. That’s why bookstores divide their selections by genre—it makes it easier for people to find the books that appeal to them.
Think about your audience again. If they are looking for your book, what section will they browse in a bookstore? Assume they don’t know the book title or your name as the author. They simply want to find the information that your book delivers. Where are they going to look? Identify your book’s genre, and you will have some insight on how to reach your market.
This is the starting point for identifying your readers, but there’s more to it than simply identifying your genre. Your readers are buried within your target markets, and I want you to know how to scout them out.
4. Target Your Markets
With all the books being published, it’s more important that EVER to know your market and how to reach your audience.
So, go back to your ideal customer. They’re hard to find because they look like everyone else, so we have identify them according to what they need. And what is that? They need the SOLUTION that is found in your book. You may think, “I know who they are – generally – but I don’t know how to get to them specifically.”
Go back to your list you made of primary and secondary markets and create a detailed plan to reach them. Do this before your book is finished, so you’ll be ready to get your book in their hands when it’s published.