Targeting Your Audience

In Part 1 of this topic, we covered the fundamentals of writing for your audience. This second instalment considers how to work with your audience once the writing is over; in other words, how to reach your audience when marketing your published book.

At this point you've identified your target audience by writing and revising your work with them in mind. You understand their age range, gender, hobbies and lifestyle and how these factors relate to your book's appeal.

It's not enough, however, to have written a book that your audience will love. Once you've done that, you have to show it to them!

Let's imagine you've written a self-help book titled Balancing Career Advancement with Personal Growth. There are questions that your audience will subconsciously be asking as they come into contact with it, such as:

  • Why do I need your book?
  • What makes it special or different from other, similar books?
  • How do you propose to help me?
  • What makes you the person for the job?

If you can address these questions on the front and back covers of your book, you're off to a great start. In order for this content to be successful, however, you are waiting for a reader to enter a book store, notice your book and pick it up.

The next level of marketing comes when you put the book into your audience's hands (metaphorically, that is!). You can do this by posing a different question:

  • Where does my audience spend its time?

This doesn't necessarily refer to a physical place. While book signings, conventions, magazines and markets are all great places to promote and sell your book, targeted marketing has never been so potentially widespread as it is now with the help of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, webzines and blogs are all excellent platforms from which to publicize your book, and each provides opportunities to do so in a specialized way.

Imagine you've just published the first instalment of a fantasy trilogy for young adults. What will your first ports of call for marketing be?

  1. LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, the top platforms for professional networking.
  2. Goodreads, Jellybooks and Whichbook, the most popular book recommendation websites around.
  3. Facebook fantasy fan groups, Twitter, and young adult fiction blog sites.

The answer? #3. The process of targeting your audience is just that; when you aim a dart at a dartboard, your aim is to hit the bullseye. Trying to sell your young adult fiction book to your professional peers or the general reading public is like throwing that dart at the scoreboard next to the target; it's pointless and won't win you the prize. By addressing your audience directly, you have a much better chance of connecting with them and making the impact you are aiming for.

It's a common misconception that the wider the potential market, the more opportunity for success. In fact, the opposite is true.

Fishing for a rare breed of fish by scouring the world's oceans will be much less fruitful than fishing for that fish in its known habitat. It sounds like common sense, and yet it's also a common oversight. The same goes for your audience; addressing the world's readership when your book is written for a specific number among them is pointless, time consuming and disheartening.

So, what's your hook? What do you have to offer your audience that other authors don't, and where are you going to spread that news to get the best results with your tasty bait?!

At FriesenPress, our Book Promotion Specialists are here to help you bring your book to your audience. The rest is up to you!

Written by: Kate Juniper, FriesenPress Editorial and Illustrations Coordinator
Image c/o Shutterstock