I recently posted about 4 Ways to Find Your Book’s Target Audience. Once you pinpoint your ideal reader, though, how do you connect with them, speak to them, and eventually sell your book to them? This is all critical and basic level information on how to market your book 101—so it’s important for you authors to know!
Whether you’re a self-publishing or traditionally publishing author, you must determine who your audience is in order to market directly to them. Keep 3 things in mind when “building” your ideal reader: demographic (gender and age), interests, and personality. Once you compile this information, if you wrote a novel like The Help, you might have a reader profile that looks something like this:
My ideal reader is a woman in her thirties, interested in social issues, and loves stories about underdogs.
Once you have this information, how do you use it to your advantage to speak to your target audience via social networking (think Facebook, Twitter) and eventually convert them to buyers? Remember the 3 major rules to building a platform of loyal readers:
Share exclusive content. This includes posting some first-draft material of new books you’re working on or behind-the-scenes content of what you’re working on today.
Interact regularly with your readers. Readers love being able to interact with their favorite author. Be friendly and approachable, and always respond to readers’ comments.
Regularly update your content. This includes your social media pages as well as your author website. Host giveaways and share reviews often!
In every interaction with your readers, keep in mind your ideal reader and what makes them like your writing.
1. Focus on the one thing that makes your novel unique from all the rest.
To use an example from earlier, readers who enjoyed The Help are generally women who are interested in learning about social problems or supporting the underdog. They might also be interested in similar stories, so if you come across a news article from your community that shares themes about underdogs, your readers will likely find value in that. Share to foster a discussion. Bonus points if you can integrate your book with current events.
2. If you fit the persona of your book’s ideal reader, write about what would interest you.
Authors generally write what they know, so the same types of books, events, and genres you are interested in are likely the same types of books, events, and genres your readers are interested in. This gives you a huge advantage when it comes to determining how to speak to your book’s target audience. What interests you? What type of content are you most likely to share or interact with? Only post material that you find to be of value—and your ideal readers will, too.
3. What would your book’s main character want to hear about?
Oftentimes, your book’s main character is a direct reflection of your target audience. Let’s get creative here. What would your book’s protagonist enjoy if he had a social media account? What types of things would he share and comment on? You’ll likely begin seeing a lot of parallels between what your book’s protagonist, your ideal reader, and you would enjoy seeing and interacting with.
Building an author platform, finding your ideal reader and your book’s target audience, and learning to speak with them is certainly not a one-size-fits-all process—and it will take a lot of time. Keep at it. Pay attention to what your readers and followers react to the most. After a while, you’ll get a feel for who your ideal reader is and how to speak to her…which will ensure she’ll read your books for a lifetime.
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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of
Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing
services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several
authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have
topped Amazon's best sellers lists.
Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she
can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her
four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,
eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is
likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.