Very few books – if any – appeal to a nonspecific audience. It is therefore necessary to find your books target audience before you start trying to appeal to ‘everyone’. Bear in mind, one of the main reasons people will be interested in your book is because the subject matter appeals to them on a personal level.
Many book publishers naturally favor books that will attract a wide readership; their chief objective being to generate volume sales and subsequently a larger profit margin. However, the risk of poor sales is often the case because the larger the market the more competition you are likely to encounter and the bigger the drain on expenses to explore unique ways to make the book stand out above the rest.
Hence, instead of trying to create a book that has mass appeal, it is wise to explore the needs, wants and desires of a realistically sized ‘niche’ target audience instead. To do this the author must identify and research what the intended target reader finds fascinating [ideally before writing the book], and establish unique and meaningful viewpoints to achieve this expectation.
It helps to know what your central philosophy is in writing and wanting to publish a book, and why it is important that you share your views with readers. It is important to gain clarity about your own expectations and the message you put across so that you can deliver a convincing pitch that highlights your work’s benefits, points of difference, and unique qualities.
The author will find it easy to answer a question like, “What makes your book so compelling that a customer would choose it over a similar publication, or another author in the same genre?” An author’s understanding of the competitive nature of attracting the attention of potential buyers makes it easier to discern who is most likely to buy their book and what it takes to make it stand out from other books in the same category.
Who do you need to reach?
Segment a broad market into distinct groups of individuals [men, women, young children, academics, adolescents, business executives, and so forth] who are like-minded or share specific behavioral characteristics.
- Where do your potential readers live [country, region]?
- What is their home language?
- Do they live in an urban or rural environment?
- What is the age and gender of your target reader?
- Generation: Baby boomer? Gen X? Gen Y?
- Are they already fans of your genre/topic)?
- What motivates them?
- What are their reading preferences: eBook, Print?
Where Can You Find the Answers?
The answers to the above questions should not be left to guess-work. Consider asking followers on your social networks to complete a short questionnaire to better understand how to serve your potential readers.
- Ask questions in emails and your blog posts.
- Join forums and writers’ clubs that discuss book topics or genre to find out more about your potential target audience.
- Search for similar books in retail outlets and online, and investigate the books on author websites. Learn what type of content is shared [reviews, book signings, author biography, author interview] and what platforms are used to share information about a publication.
- Do an online search for reader demographics for magazines or publications relevant to the subject of your book.
- Reach your audience by engaging with your target audience by monitoring mentions of your book (Google Alerts), and stay up to date with what other authors, bloggers, and industry leaders are talking about; also contribute to the dialogue (Feedly, AllTop, Google Trends and NewsMap).