Your AudienceDynamics 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
“Everyone is not your customer.”
Three questions to ask about your audience:
Question 1: Who are my 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 my 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 my intended audience going to care about my 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?”
- If you haven’t already, display your book cover on your Social Media accounts and share main points or ideas from your book each week. You want all of your Social “friends” and “followers” to be aware of your book.
- Seek out five possible influencers. These are people with established audiences who are likely to connect with the message in your book and share it with their audience. Then make them want to share your story by becoming a part of their audience and a part of their conversation. Become their fan. Look for ways to promote them and their story. Don’t ask before you’ve given.
- Join a few Social Media groups with a focus related to your book. Understand their interests, desires, wants, needs, the problems and write for them. They’ll reward you by reading your books and telling their friends.
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.
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I always have a problem answering the question, “What does your audience need?” for us fiction writers. Besides the obvious fact that fiction readers want to be entertained, how do I niche down and talk to the specific interests, desires, needs, & problems of my specific audience? Is it genre-based? Since there are sub-genres within the contemporary Christian romance genre, for example, how do I find out what the readers of my small-town, character-driven, first-person saga following one Christian woman’s love life want from it?
Hi Lila, Nice to hear from you again!
You’ve got some great endorsements on your website. Why don’t you ask your current readers? Be specific; they will tell you what they got out of reading your books.