Authors, do you know who your target audience is? If not, do you know the importance of finding your target audience in shaping robust and sustainable marketing strategy?
You see, your target audience is the group of people most likely to pick up and enjoy your work. Contrary to the fantasy you’ve built up in your imagination about how this author thing is going to go for you, it’s not every reader ever. (Hey, I get it – I have been there.) If you don’t know the people who are most likely to pick up and enjoy your work, you’re going to be unfocused and eventually overextended in your book marketing efforts online and off.
I know. I’ve been there, too.
Popular book marketing advice says that an author should choose somewhere between three and five topics about which they care and upon which to build their online platforms and attract readers. In short, all conversation started and engaged in through an author’s platform should revolve around those three to five topics. And this advice works for many authors.
It didn’t work for me. I tried to work within three categories for my author platform: reading, writing, and matters of faith. As broad as those categories were, I have a chronic fascination with absolutely everything and I often found I wanted to talk about things that didn’t fit into them, but I felt like I couldn’t. I felt like I would be violating my brand, betraying the trust of the people who had followed me on the basis of those three topics.
I had an allegorical fantasy and a Bible curriculum for elementary students on the market, I was wrapping up my chick lit novel, A Year with the Baptists, and I was re-working (for the umpteenth time) my literary novel, Rachael’s Unfolding. I was frustrated because all of my work was in different genres (and popular marketing advice is to stick with one genre for your brand), and I couldn’t figure out if it was one group or four different groups I was trying to reach.
I simultaneously needed less topical specificity and more specificity regarding my target audience, so I sat down earlier this year and did some exercises.
It took all of an afternoon to realize that my target audience as an author – the group people most likely to pick up and enjoy my writing – is female elementary educators. They spend most of their time looking for ways to teach students in the individual ways they learn, looking for and developing creative lesson plans. They love learning new things, and new ways of doing things. Often, they spend their own money and exhaust their own resources to make sure their students have everything they need to succeed. They care. And when they have time to read or watch Netflix, they’re looking for positive, inspiring stories that meet them and fill them after they’ve poured so much into others. That’s when it hit me like a ton of bricks: as an author, I need to be a resource, specifically for female elementary educators. Whether it’s a cool science news story or a new twist on an old fairy tale, I can share it, because the people I am trying to reach will be just as fascinated as I am. Who knew?
Of course, as a consultant, I am trying to reach you – the author who doesn’t know how to determine who his or her target audience, who doesn’t even know where to begin with this whole social media branding and marketing thing. And I’m not trying to reach you with a formula, because you’re someone who does things outside of the mold; I’m trying to partner with you to develop a plan that works with how you already operate. It can be done.
All you need to do is shoot me an email at email@example.com. Introduce yourself (let’s say … name, favorite color, and favorite thing about yourself) and tell me a bit about your writing. I will set you up with some exercises, and together we’ll hash out who your target audience is. Okay? Okay.