This weekend I had a conversation with a client about her book. Something that she has struggled with is finding her target audience. She has a very broad message, but she writes in from a lens that makes it pertinent to certain people. It didn't matter how I put the question to her, figuring out her target audience was still very difficult. So, I decided to do some research and found this article from Standout Books that breaks finding your audience down into to easy-to-follow steps!
1. Start with Yourself!
- What is your age?
- What is your gender?
- Where do you live?
- What books have you read recently/what books do you have on your to-read list?
- What kind of communities are you part of?
You can use this information to create a profile of your reader. I'll use myself for this example:
- I am 26 years old.
- I am female.
- I live in Houston.
- I have recently read Dark Treasures, a collection of short horror stories, and I have a fantasy called Birthright on my to-read list.
- I belong to a book club and several author communities where I tend to interact with other fantasy/sci-fi authors.
So who is my target audience?
- Females, between the age of 20-30
- Live in the US
- Enjoy reading fantasy/horror/sci-fi books
- Spend time participating in book clubs and on social media
You can even narrow this down further by"...looking at the types of books you read, the types of movies you like, the music you listen to, the magazines you buy, the hobbies you have, how you spend your vacations, etc., you can get some interesting insights into others that fit a similar profile."
2. Analyze Your Book!
To start, you need to know the topics covered in your book. Some are easy, such as in Return to Royalty one main topic is magic. Some are a bit more difficult, such as a more subtle topic in RTR, like growing up and learning to accept who you are.
How does this help me narrow my audience?
- I know that women in their early twenties and late teens are struggling with relationships and learning who they are.
- I know that the magic may appeal to groups both younger and older, as well as some male audiences.
I can also extrapolate other things:
- My book is set in Texas. It may appeal to people who currently live in Texas or Texas enthusiasts.
"Analyzing your book and identifying the topics will lead you closer to your desired readers so make sure you devote some time to this step of the process."
3. Look at Social Media!
It's always a good idea to look at other authors in your intended genre. What are they doing and where are they hanging out on Social Media? I always, always, always recommend that my clients find bestsellers in their genres and mimic what these authors are doing.
"If you spend an hour or two working through their followers, you'll start to get a decent idea of an age and gender profile. If you have time, look at a few things that the author's followers are posting about as you may pick up on some shared areas of interest.
You can use Twitter’s advanced search function to give you an idea of who’s talking about authors similar to yourself, and of course, what they are talking about. Yes, you are playing the role of detective, but if you pay close attention to what is being said, you will soon have a better understanding of who your readers are and how to connect to them.
Social for Publishers [which is similar to Hootsuite] has a content research tool which is great for exploring Facebook with. Best of all, the basic account is free."
4. Think About Your Buyer
Example: Maybe you've written a children's book. Even though the book is for kids, the BUYER is the parents/teachers/etc.
If you are an established author, there are ways to learn about your book's target market in order to help you maintain and grow your existing fan base. We will touch on this next week in our part two of How to Find Your Target Audience!