Identifying your market is critical to the development and potential sale of your manuscript. It will not only affect the way you write, but it will also play a huge role in the book marketing approaches that you take. When you understand your market, you can target specific readers by strategically approaching your book marketing efforts.
“Why should I care about target audience?”
Authors often ask this question, especially when they believe they’ve written a bestseller that the whole world will want to read regardless. However, knowing one’s target audience will not only affect the way you write, but it will also play a huge role in the book marketingapproaches that you take. In fact, the first time you meet with a publisher, they are going to ask you about your target audience. And telling the publisher in question that your book has general appeal and can be read by any and every one could drastically reduce your chances of snagging a publishing deal. Plain and simple – a book’s target audience is not a one-size-fits-all.
Tips on How Authors Can Identify Their Book’s Target Market
Identifying your market is critical to the development and potential sale of your manuscript. When you understand your market, you can target specific readers by strategically approaching your book marketing efforts. Here are a few tips to help you with identifying your target audience:
1. What Genres Appeal to You
If you want to identify your target audience, especially in an effort to augment your book marketing efforts, the first person you should talk to is yourself. That might sound a little odd, but take a moment to think about it. As an author, your reading preferences are going to affect the things you write. So try assessing what you like, the genres you enjoy and the topics that appeal to you. If you discover that all of your preferences are prominently featured in the book you have written, then it’s safe to say that you are your own target audience. Use your own characteristics (gender, likes, dislikes, etc.) as a filter when selecting a group of people to market to.
2. What Genre(s) Does Your Work Fall Into?
Genre holds an extraordinary power among readers and is forever unifying and dividing markets. For instance, a John Grisham book will appeal to enthusiasts of the legal system because of the focus it places on the law. On the other hand, historical romance novels, like the Medieval Song series, will probably appeal to women, and not necessarily history enthusiasts because those books emphasize the sexual and romantic aspects above all else. So knowing the genre, as well as any sub-genres, that your work ties into is vital in the identification of your market. Identify the themes and topics your book tackles and find out which types or groups of people appreciate those themes and topics. At the very least you should be able to narrow down some specific characteristics of your target readers.
3. Look to Similar Titles
Another way to identify your target audience for book marketing purposes is to compare your work to similar books that have been written by other authors. Simply locate the titles that most closely mirror your own work, and then analyze the authors’ social media accounts as well as the people that follow them online. See who’s buying and reviewing the authors’ work and find out what these readers/reviewers are saying. These same people will very likely be a part of your own target market. If you can figure out the audiences that gravitate towards those authors and their books, you will be able to approximate the type of individuals that will also be drawn towards your own work.
4. Listen to What Readers Want
If you want to know your target audience, consider simply presenting this question to the readers themselves. Some authors have executed this by putting ads out for their unpublished manuscripts on Facebook as a test to see how people respond. Other authors have put out polls attached to basic descriptions of their book in an effort to gather feedback on what people have to say. Regardless of how you choose to reach out to potential fans, your goal is to gather data firsthand, and use what you’ve learned to narrow down your target audience.
5. How Old Are Your Ideal Readers?
Your readers’ age impacts everything, from characters and content to plot and conflict. So knowing your target age bracket is hugely relevant when defining your target market. For example, if you feel that your book may appeal to audiences in their mid-20s and under, then there is a good chance that your target market are those individuals who appreciate books within the YA genre. Try to determine exactly which age groups will appreciate your work the most and use the information as a starting point for determining your target audience.
Don’t dismiss the importance of knowing your target audience. It doesn’t matter how well-written your book is if the people who’d want to buy it don’t know that it exists. So if you want your book marketing efforts to succeed, it is essential that you determine your target demographic from the start.