Last week I introduced you to the concept of creating a marketing plan for your book with the post … and on the subject of a Marketing Plan for Authors! You will need to read it before we carry on as it introduces you to six important helpers in your arsenal to get your book into the right hands.
This week I’d like to consider the question that many authors have but usually don’t ask and almost certainly never get answered, and that’s finding the elusive place that your potential readers hang out in.
Of course, before you can go to this mysterious place you need to know who your readers are in other words what do they look like; what age are; which country/ies do they live in; what languages do they speak; what sort of authors do they like;, what are their ‘issues’ (mainly for non-fiction writers); whether or not they actually ever read a book and if they do are they reading them on an eReader or as real physical manifestation of something to hold and smell.
It is only by answering these questions first that you have a hope of finding their hideouts and hangouts. You can read a bit more about how I applied the above questions to 101 Handy Hints for a Happy Hysterectomy (I kid you not, it is a genuine book!) in the post called The good, the bad and the downright ugly of marketing books.
Answering the questions gives you a profile of your perfect reader, in some cases you may even be able to ‘see’ them in your mind’s eye. Having such a good picture gives you two advantages:
- firstly, you can now start to imagine what it might be like to talk to them over a coffee
- you can hone the things you are saying to appeal to just this one ‘person’ – who could in fact be millions of people
So, let’s talk about the coffee (or in my case, tea) you are going to have with your reader. Knowing what they look like means you know the sorts of things they might be interested in, the way that they might speak and the things that they may respond to. Now, this isn’t an absolute given and there are bound to be some readers who fall outside of your carefully prepared profile, but that’s fine we need to get to the many at this stage and you can whittle them down later.
When you find them, you are going to need to speak their language and enter their world. This is not the time to sharpen your pitch and to just talk about you. Rather you need to talk about them instead and carefully build a relationship with them that is based on your common interests.
For example, I know that readers of LinkedIn Made Easy are going to be interested in finding out more about how to use LinkedIn. As most of the active users on LinkedIn are men then I know that I’m going to be talking to business and professional men mostly and my language needs to reflect this. I also know that I have a clear message to share, which is that using the network is what makes you effective; just creating a profile and connecting with lots of people doesn’t.
Therefore my LinkedIn profile clearly mentions I’m the author of LinkedIn Made Easy, I answer questions about LinkedIn on the network and in places like Twitter too. Every time someone sends me a canned LinkedIn request I send them a message back asking a longer version of the word ‘why?’ which just happens to point them to a blog post called Please don’t add me as a connection on LinkedIn unless you REALLY mean it! explaining why I don’t accept canned requests. This simple set of actions has been responsible for making the book a best-seller in no less than three categories on the Kindle store of Amazon UK.
But my book’s fiction I hear you cry, and it’s true that fiction books are slightly more difficult to work with using these methods but they still apply. You know what you have written about and therefore your book will appeal to readers of that particular genre. Now, there are websites and forums dedicated to almost every type of fiction imaginable. There are also magazines and newspapers which your readers may well be interested in.
For instance, readers of Woman on the Edge of Reality are likely to be in their mid-40’s or so. They may well be looking for the next thing in their lives or may be questioning some of the decisions they have made. They might be empty-nesters or may not have children at all and it’s fair to say that maybe they are taking a second look at the significant relationships in their lives. The places I might look to talk about my book might be sites like Lovereading.co.uk, or the female focused forums of the major news and magazine websites in the UK. As it’s set in Cornwall, I might even go and have a look at website that promote Cornish tourism.
The places I will NOT be looking though are for those people who reader murder mystery books or horror or sci-fi; they might read my book, but it will only a small number that do so I don’t want to offend those readers by introducing something so ‘mainstream’ into their worlds.
In coming weeks I’m going to prepare a set of posts that explain where exactly you can find that elusive reader by genre, so keep watching. That’s it for today folk and I’d be interested to hear how you get on and where you have found your readers too.