How often does an author believe his or her book is for everyone? Many authors mistakenly assume or falsely hope that their book could conceivably be read by anyone. The truth is your book has a certain readership profile and the sooner you conclude or define who that is, you must channel all of your publicity, marketing, and advertising efforts to locate and connect with them.
Think of the extremes first – who definitely would find your book appealing and who wouldn’t. It’s an easy exercise. For those you believe would have an interest in your book, make note of them. Then think of their opposites who would shun, dismiss, or criticize a book like yours. For instance, if your book deals with erotica, don’t start contacting religious conservatives. If your book is about vegan recipes, no need to reach those who like meat or enjoy fishing. If your book is about how to date again after a divorce, no reason to approach people who have never been married. If your book is about a gay lifestyle, you may have little reason to approach heterosexuals. Of course there are exceptions to these rules, but suffice to say that you can carve the world up into two piles – your core readers and those who would never touch your book.
However, a third option exists – those who may find some aspect of your book of relevance or interest in a secondary or tertiary way.
For instance, if your novel touches upon dogs or clowns or antique cars and you have a collection/hobby or interest in any of these, you may buy the book. But it’s not a sure thing since the book’s main focus may be about something else.
Once you identify who might buy the book, think of related offshoots. For instance, it it’s a health book on diet, you may believe it’s for those who want to lose weight, keep weight off, or to change their lifestyle. But maybe it’s also appealing to those with certain conditions, illnesses, or body types. Maybe it’s also for caretakers, or those that work in food and beverage.
So once you zero in on who might be your reader, think about how you’ll market to them. Will it be with social media, advertising, traditional media, speaking engagements, direct mail, or some other means? How much time and budget will be allocated to reach them?
The media can be matched up to your targeted reader. For instance, you can contact media that covers a certain beat -- like business, health, parenting, education – if your target reader fits one of them.
You can also choose the format of media that you think would work best. Is your target reader someone who watches TV or reads blogs or listens to podcasts or reads magazines? Again, you can find what you want.
You can also scale your pitch to certain demographics. Seeking the educated and wealthy? Try The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NPR. Looking to reach blacks? Try urban radio, BET, and Ebony. Want to reach moms? Try mommy bloggers, parenting pubs, HuffPost, etc.
To reach your potential readers you must:
· Identify who they are.
· Determine where they exist.
· Approach media that’s consumed by them.
· Offer a targeted pitch to the media.
· Devise a strategic plan that crosses multiple areas – PR, marketing, and advertising.
The better you are at segmenting your approach, the more likely you’ll experience success, but nothing is guaranteed. You may even find you wrongly predicted or anticipated who your reader is. Be prepared to alter your approach if you find that what you’re doing is not delivering the expected results.
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