Your Audience

Dynamics of a Successful Book: Lesson 2

One of the first questions I ask new authors is. “Who is your intended audience?”

Way too often I get the reply, “Oh, everyone.”

“Everyone” is a non-answer. No book is for everyone.

When I ask, “Who is your intended audience?” I want to know specifically.

Give me a list of names of those people you expect to buy your book the day it comes out.

Steve Spillman, Founder, True Potential

If you have roughly a thousand true fans like this (also known as super fans), you can make a living — if you are content to make a living but not a fortune.

Kevin Kelly

Lesson 2:

Three questions to ask about your audience:

Question 1: Who are your friends?

Is that a little too specific? No. Here’s why. The only people who are going to buy your book are those who know it exists, have an interest in your book’s subject matter, and who know, like or trust you. In order for someone to buy your book, they have to know it exists. Amazon is not going to tell them. Bookstores (almost extinct establishments supposedly “responsible” for selling your book) are not going to tell them. And Oprah Winfrey is not going to tell them.

You are going to tell them. And in order for you to tell them, I’ll assume that they already know, like or trust you, or you’re currently working hard to get them to know like or trust you. These folks are your audience; they’re the ones who are going to buy your book.

Question 2: Who are your influencers?

There is one other, extremely important group that may buy your book. People who know, like or trust someone who knows, likes or trusts you. We call this “someone” an influencer. Think of it as a “friend-of-a friend.” They influence others (their audience) to pay attention to you or your book. That’s why we give books or introduce authors to influencers; so that they might learn about the book and/or the author and share the message or the author with their audience. That’s why authors do TV, radio and podcast interviews. That’s why they guest post on other blogs. That’s why they join the conversation with a larger audience on Social Media. In addition to building their own audience, smart authors join in with other audiences … which, if done well, builds their audience.

Question 3: Is your intended audience going to care about your book?

People are extremely self-centered when it comes to the information they consume. Sorry, but it’s a fact. Consumers, especially book consumers, have way too many choices and very limited time. Your book had better have something they want or they’re not going to buy your book, even if they know, like or trust you.

A reader doesn’t buy a book, she buys a promise. The promise your book makes to improve her life, her looks, her situation, her finances, her family, her faith, her relationships, her health, etc.) Sorry again, another fact. If your mom buys your book, she’s going to show it off to her friends and say, “Look what my daughter/son wrote!” Even mom isn’t exempt from self-interest.

That’s okay though. It’s part of the business of writing and publishing. Your book, your story, your message is a promise. It’s a promise to your reader that this book will spark an interest, fulfill a desire, satisfy a need or solve a problem. That’s the promise a book makes. That’s why we write and that’s why they read. 

Before you write, while you write, after you write ask yourself, “Am I speaking to the interests, the desires, the wants, the needs of my readers? Am I solving the problem I promised to solve when they read my book?”


  • Build your audience, make them aware of you and your book. Build your relationship with them. Give them a reason to know like and trust you.
  • Seek out influencers; those people who can share your story with their audience. And then make them want to share your story. The best way to do this, like any other relationship, is to sow into that influencer’s life. Become a part of their conversation. Be a fan. Look for ways to promote them and their story. Don’t ask before you’ve given.
  • Understand the interests, the desires, the wants, the needs, the problems of your audience and write to them. Write for them. They’ll reward you by reading your books and telling their friends. In this way your fans become influencers to their audience, and those folks learn about you and your book, and they will have the opportunity to become readers, and then fans, and then influencers. And the cycle continues. Nice!

Hey! Do you have a question for me about this lesson? I’d love to give you an answer! Just scroll down to the comment section below and ask away.

Click here for lesson 1: 

Your Story

Click here for lesson 3: 

Your Medium

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