When you’re deeply immersed in the writing process, it can be difficult to think ahead to the moment your self-published book ends up in a reader’s hands. If you think book marketing is the right time to start thinking about how to reach your target audience, you’d be wrong! In fact, that reader should be your primary focus from the moment you start typing.
While it’s never too late to learn about your potential reader and tailor your marketing solutions to that audience, There are things you need to to from the get-go to home in on your target audience and ensure that your efforts are sharp and focused throughout the writing and marketing journey:
- Get in the right mindset. If you know before you pen your novel that you want to reach a certain demographic, that target audience should be at the front of your mind at all times. Picture a single person who embodies the average reader to you: It may be a teenage girl from the ‘burbs, or it could be a middle-age man who works in a big city. The language you use, the characters you bring to life and the story you tell should all be interesting to that person you view as your typical reader.
- Immerse yourself in the culture. If are a middle-age man working in a big city who’s trying to write a story that appeals to a teenage girl from the ‘burbs, you’ve got some homework to do. Odds are, unless you have a teenager under your roof and are really tuned in to her “culture,” you’ll need to know what’s important to her, what makes her happy, what her big concerns are, and what life for her is like every day. Get to know this girl! She’s your reader.
- Dress the part. That is, dress your book for the part. Once you’ve immersed yourself in your reader’s world, get to know how that target reader expresses herself. Write in her language. It’s not enough to understand her if you don’t understand how she expresses herself. Choose a cover design that your reader will find appealing. For the teenager, this may be anything from brightly colored graphics to the supernatural beings that are so popular. By contrast, a senior reader may be more drawn in by period art that hearkens a nostalgic time.
- Reach out through social media. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social media platforms give authors a great deal of freedom to reach out to scores of potential book buyers. Readers young and old are latching onto social media, but finding them can be tricky. The “cultural immersion” phase of your self-publishing journey may have unearthed some clubs and social media pages you can link to for contact with your target reader; however, help from a trained social media professional can provide priceless here. Your advisor can not only set up platforms specifically for your book or author pages on several social media sites, but can help put you in contact with entities that will be useful in getting the word out about your book. And, he can do it for you in a fraction of the time you’d be able to do it yourself.
Don’t fret if your writing is wrapped up and you’re just thinking about your target audience. There are still many things you can do to sharpen your focus retroactively. A good editor can tighten your writing with your target in mind or suggest a better target, and will offer guidance on substantive changes that will strengthen your story. A Personal Marketing Assistant can provide additional assistance in steering you toward the marketing and promotional services you may need to reach out to your reader in the most effective way.