The more I’ve delved into marketing and ways to find new readers, the more important it’s become for me to understand who my target reader is. What kind of people tend to fall in love with my books? (Not just those who can tolerate them.) Where do I find those people?
The deeper I go in this topic, the more I’m intrigued by it. The more I understand the freeing power of knowing my target reader, the more it influences my story lines, the types of characters I write about, the settings in each book, my book covers, back cover blurbs, types of advertising, you name it!
In other words, almost everything I do related to books centers around my target reader – making sure they can find my book, and then making sure they love it!
So how do you find that elusive person?
Is it a demographic (women from 35-60)? Is it a lifestyle? How can you possibly know?
It’s possible that each author comes to their understanding differently, but I’ll share some tips that might help you take a more direct route to your “ah-ha” moment.
- What stirs emotions in you?
This technique works best if you write the kind of books you love to read (and in general, I’d recommend that you do write in the genre you enjoy reading). If, for example, you’re a 50-year-old writing middle grade (children’s) books, you might try asking a middle grade student these questions.
Also, this technique works for both pre-published and published writers.
Think about a location or setting that stirs you. What ignites a spark in your soul? Maybe it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, a yearning, or makes your pulse race.
For me, I love mountain settings. The beauty…the majesty. Standing on the edge of a peak looking out for miles and miles…I come alive in a way that’s almost intoxicating. And my favorite season in the mountains is winter, when snow covers everything. Some of my happiest times have been spent in a mountain cabin, hiding away from the world as the snow covers the peaks in a soft blanket of white. Just thinking about it fills me with an intense craving to be there.
That, my friends, is a setting that stirs me. And it stirs a whole audience of people. I can write with passion, helping others experience the same gamut of emotion that I do for the topic.
- What do people talk about when they post a review?
Read through your Amazon reviews, looking for consistent themes. What did people love about this book? Was it the hero’s tragic past, and how he learns to forgive himself? Was it the fact that heroine came from a wealthy upbringing, yet had the tenacity to learn the skills needed to survive in a wild, barren country?
Find those themes and drill into them. Then, weave those same elements into future books. Chances are, they’re also characteristics that drew you to your hero and heroine to begin with.
These will become elements of your brand as an author.
- Use Facebook Ad targeting to discover more about your target readers.
This method was a bit of a surprise for me. If you’ve not used FB ads before, they allow you to target people based on things they’ve shown an interest in. For example, you can target well-known authors, publishing houses, interest groups, locations, etc.
As I tested several audience types with various interests, I found some common themes among the groups that resulted in the lowest cost-per-click. Those groups had shown interest in Janette Oke, the Love Comes Softly series, Hallmark movies, and Bethany House Publishers. Are you hearing a theme?
Additionally, Facebook shows you cost-per-click breakdown by age range and gender. I found my lowest cost-per-click with women in the 45 – 65+ range. That didn’t surprise me, but it did surprise me that I paid almost twice as much for any click outside of that demographic. Huh.
I also did a quick look at the Google Analytics data for those who have visited my author website, and found similar results. Validation is nice. 🙂
If you don’t already have a strong connection with your target reader, take the time now to discover them. There’s nothing quite as special as a kindred spirit!