When I was in my teens, I had a few of The Common Kingdoms series books’ first, second and third drafts under my belt, so when I was seventeen and started researching and picking apart what successful authors were doing to market their books I had the ultimate resource – I was my ideal reader.
But that also put me at a huge disadvantage, that only my research could push out of the way – assumptions about my perfectly-matched readers.
Assuming every one of my readers would be like me was crazy.
I needed to know everything about my ideal readers.
Book marketing at its very core is getting in front of readers, but more specifically, getting in front of the perfect reader for your book – an ideal reader that could change per book and after publishing when your research grows with book sales and interaction with fans.
So why does almost every author screw this up?
They only scratch the surface.
When I work with an author, before I can suggest anything or start showing them how to improve, I ask the most important question every author should know the answer to:
Who is your ideal reader?
Everyone gets it wrong. Every time I hear:
- They’re male/female.
- They’re X age group.
- They like reading this book genre or this book category.
Wait! I’d bet that at least one author just read that, rolled their eyes/blew a raspberry and muttered, “that is my ideal reader – I targeted my book for X age, Y gender and Z genres and categories.”
That’s great, if your deep dive research into your ideal reader reveals you nailed it on the head for 100% of your readers and you know everything you should about them to help you grow your fanbase and as a result, your book sales.
But truthfully, knowing those demographics doesn’t tell you how to get in front of them. You’re scratching the surface when you should be yanking out your character’s favourite weapon and hacking the surface away to get the real facts about your ideal readers.
A few authors I’ve worked with weren’t able to answer at all:
“I wrote it for myself. My beta readers are X, Y and Z…Does that help?”
That doesn’t really help either. Unless your beta readers came to you for their Advanced Reader Copies and you didn’t chase them, they’re less likely to be your ideal reader and more likely to be someone doing you a favour.
You don’t want your book to sell only because people you tell do you a favour.
(Psst: if you sought out your beta readers, use it for the research – observe the similarities between them and the differences and chat with them about books, how they make the decision to buy and where they buy their books.)
You want your book getting in front of the right readers. Those that’ll love it, treasure every word, tell their friends, buy new copies when theirs falls apart, buy every book for their favourite characters that you write, devour every email you send their way, regularly check your site for status updates, move house with it, email you and send you fan mail.
How do you find your ideal reader and put your book in front of them?
The key is research and remembering the number one marketing strategy: it’s all about your readers.
If you think, “I should run some Facebook adverts so I can sell more books,” you’ve already lost.
Drop the desire to sell more books.
Grow the desire to share your story with your perfect reader and research everything you can about them. The sales will follow. Join Writers’ Club below to get access to a question bank of things to ask readers whilst researching who your ideal readers are for every book you plan (or have) published.
Join Writers’ Club below to get access to a question bank of things to ask readers whilst researching who your ideal readers are for every book you plan (or have) published.