For my second publishing blog post, let's discuss the importance of knowing who your readers are. Don't forget to read last week's post, on self vs traditional publishing, if you missed it!
We know that not every book will appeal to all readers. All genres have specific styles, and all novels are aimed at certain people. So, whether you choose to self-publish or traditionally publish, you need to know who your target audience is and write the book FOR them.
You'll need to cultivate a strong relationship with readers long before your book is released. You need to know who they are, find them, and get them excited about your book so they buy it.
I've listed three great questions to ask yourself, to find out who your audience is:
1. What are similar books to yours?
Read some books that have similar themes, characters or style to yours. What genre are they considered? How has the genre affected the way they were marketed?
A marketing tactic used by many authors is comparing their book to bestsellers in their genre. Ever wondered why all YA dystopias are 'The new Hunger Games' or 'Perfect for fans of Divergent'?
Look at similar book's reviews online and see what kinds of readers they're popular with. Is this book a hit on Instagram with 30-year-old women? Or a children's NYT Bestseller? What made it successful with its readers?
2. Where does your book fit in its genre?
Now that you've read lots of similar books, you should know your book's genre inside-out. So, what makes your book stand out against all the others?
Who reads your genre, and do those readers match what you expected? Your audience and genre have to match, or you'll struggle to sell your book.
Picking a popular genre will always help with sales, but there will be less competition in more niche genres, because fewer authors will be writing in them. Whichever you choose, aim to be the best and stand out.
Basically, find out what the genre is missing, find out what readers are asking for, and give it to them!
3. Who will relate to the plot and characters?
If your readers don't care about your character's journey, they'll stop reading your book, or never buy it to begin with. Think about the plot and how readers might relate.
The main character's age will be a great indicator of who the book is meant for. Young people may struggle to read about older characters, and older people may struggle to read about younger characters.
A YA book about a teenager in high school will, of course, appeal mostly to teenagers in high school. But, it's more complicated than that. Your subplots will be important, for example, whether or not your book includes romance.
Just by reading the blurb or looking at the cover, readers will decide whether they'll relate to the book or not. You have to be clear who your book is for!
So, now you have your specific target audience! You know their age, their lifestyle, their favourite genre and their favourite books. Next week, we'll discuss how to find them and connect with them through digital marketing.
If you need help with finding your readers, contact me to discuss my author VA services.