When you’re making short story or poetry submissions to publishers, it makes sense to cast a wide net. But when you’re trying to sell your book and optimize your financial investments, narrowing your target audience might be a better choice. No one wants to waste time or money reaching out to readers who aren’t likely to buy! To identify and approach the people most likely to buy your book, Self-Publishing Relief recommends these tiered steps!
How To Identify Your Book’s Best Target Audience
Tier One: Identify your book’s genre and subgenre. Some writers—especially those who are working within certain commercial genres that have specific tropes—will have no trouble identifying their book’s genre. But other writers, especially those who are mixing genres, might have a harder time deciding where to sell.
It’s critical to pinpoint the right genre for your book. The genre you “tag” your book with when you’re posting it to online book retailer websites will determine how your book fits into the larger marketplace. Ask yourself: Do you want your book to be “shelved” next to books that are more challenging/literary or more escapist/entertaining? What authors do you want as your neighbors/competitors?
Your book genre choice may even have an effect on your ability to earn a spot on a best-seller list. For example, you might find it easy to reach best-seller status in the subgenre for the “historical Amish romance” market—but you might find it harder to earn a high sales ranking among generic “historical romance” books. You’ll need to decide how important it is for you to reach best-seller status.
It’s important, too, to be aware that your choice of genre will have trade-offs. “Historical fiction” might help you reach a wider swath and greater number of readers (aka potential customers)—but you might actually sell to fewer of those buyers. “Historical Amish romance” might mean you reach a smaller number of readers but that you actually sell to a larger percentage of them.
In keeping with our romance novel genre examples, take a look at this article to understand how niche genres function within traditional book genres.
Read more about how to identify your self-published book’s target genre:
Tier Two: Create a projected reader profile. Who is your target reader? Use these questions to better understand the type of buyer who is most likely to invest in your book:
- What is your target reader’s likely primary gender? Age? Ethnicity?
- Family status: married, single?
- Job status: retired, working, stay-at-home mom/dad?
- Region: Where does your target reader live? Where is your genre selling best?
- Hobbies: Does your target reader have any leisure-time pursuits that would make your book especially interesting?
- Where does your target reader get his or her book recommendations? Is he or she active on social media? Goodreads?
What To Do Next: Put Your Knowledge To Good Use
Now that you have a specific concept of what product you’re offering and who your target buyer might be, you can use that information to find your readers. Here are some suggestions:
- Create targeted advertisements on social media websites, like Facebook, that pinpoint age, region, and interests.
- Join or contact local organizations that meet your projected reader criteria (social interest groups, book groups, retirement communities, writing groups, etc.).
- Seek book reviews from readers who specialize in your genre.
- Buy ad space on book-friendly websites that cater to your target reader.
- Seek guest blogging opportunities on blogs that reach your projected readership.
- Give out free books to key opinion-makers in your book’s genre community or in your local community (like newspaper editors or local cable channel producers).
Learn more about where book readers are hanging out online.
Question: Have you tried niche marketing? Share your experience.