Why Target An Audience?


Sell to the Right Buyers
If I’ve mentioned this before, forgive me … I’m going to mention it again because it’s important enough to repeat.

One of the biggest mistakes new indie writers make is trying to make their book appeal to everyone. New to the idea of marketing their work, many believe the larger the potential market, the greater the chances the book will get noticed.

Sadly, this is generally not true.

The larger the market, the more competition your work is likely to face. Trying to appeal to the masses, instead of understanding the needs, wants and desires of the right few is a recipe for a book flop.

It’s finding and narrowing your niche that will help you to reach more of the people that will ultimately buy your book.

Don’t assume you already know your audience, or that they’re just like you. Do the work to confirm what your readers actually want; not what you think they need.

What’s Your Appeal?
It’s difficult to tempt people with what you have to offer unless you yourself know exactly what it is, and why they should care.

I know I’ve said this before … take the time to discover your author brand. What does your writing have to offer, who would be most interested in it and why?

Face it. Your book is not a ‘must read’ for every literate person on earth, so you need a way to narrow your focus.

Where Do You Find Answers?
The answer shouldn’t be just a guess. If you currently have a fan base, consider polling your readers or asking them to complete a survey to better understand how best to serve them.

Ask questions in your comments (on your own blog and others), and join forums and clubs that discuss your topic or genre to find out more about your audience.

Find comparable books and investigate the websites and blogs for the book and its author. Who is commenting? What types of content are they sharing and what platforms are they using to share it?

Next, check out the various social platforms the author is active on. Look at the profiles of their followers … many are very likely your target audience as well.

Reader Profile
Once you know exactly who your target audience is and have streamlined your brand to be ‘in tune’ with their interests and desires, the final step is to be where they are.

A technique I’ve used to make finding and engaging with my target audience easier, is to create a highly detailed and accurate reader profile that represents my target audience.

My target audience is young adult (male and female, 16 and older), so I pitch my books accordingly. I like to think it’s working.

My novel REICHOLD STREET was a 2012 Readers Favorite Young Adult Gold Medal Winner and my short-story collection ZEBULON was a 2013 Silver Medal Winner … in the Young Adult Fantasy genre.

You can do the same thing.

Create a character sketch of your ideal reader (like you might for a character in your novel). Give this individual a name. Connect with them, understand them. Once created, this profile is who you think of, speak to and write for when creating any marketing message.

Every email, social media post, design tweak, book trailer, book cover, blog entry, excerpt and comment must be crafted with your reader profile in mind.

Monitor mentions of your book/brand online (set up Google Alerts). Stay up-to-date on news and trends regarding your genre. What are other authors, bloggers and industry influencers talking about? (Some resources: Feedly, AllTop, Google Trends and NewsMap).

Your audience is out there.

What are you waiting for?


New York Review of Books – A Reminder
Look for the mention of my novel Reichold Street in the September 26, 2013 Fall Books issue of The New York Review.


Creating Believable Characters
Don’t forget to click on the link in the right-hand column to get your copy of “Creating Believable Characters.” It was written specifically to aid writers with their character development and the price shouldn’t be a deterrent … it’s FREE.


Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.



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One Response to “Why Target An Audience?”

  1. Ron Herron Says:

    Comments are welcome and encouraged! 😉


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