Monday, January 28, 2019

Why Authors Must Only Market To 1% Of The Population

I must confess to being a fan of The Twilight Zone, an amazing series that ran on CBS-TV for five or six seasons in the 1960’s.  I know I am not alone in valuing the black and white show that intelligently and touchingly explored a nation’s morals, fears, confrontation with technology, government, power, war, beauty, greed and other leading issues of the day — many of them timeless.  But I’m always surprised when someone, especially a contemporary of mine, says they don’t like or never watched the series.

Of course we can’t all have the same tastes, passions, or views – and certainly we won’t all watch the same TV show, movie or play.  But that also means we won’t all read or like the same book.  Yours included.

In fact, the vast majority of people rarely read the same book.  Mega-bestsellers may sell a million copies in a year – possibly 15-30 million over many decades.  Compare that to the hundreds of millions of individuals that will live in the U.S. during that time.  Some of the most critically-acclaimed, award-winning best-sellers, if lucky, may get consumed by 10% of the population over time.  Many wildly successful books may only get read by 1% of the population.

Of course, as an author, you would be happy to experience any of that, but the truth is, your barometer for success is quite a different standard. To sell 10,000 copies of a book within a year of its publication is a level of accomplishment.

Authors, though they hope for book sales to climb and to hit the big time, what they really crave is gaining support for their writings, being received by consumers and the media favorably, winning awards, building a brand, and helping others with a positive and empowering message.   All of that is possible with a sound book marketing and publicity campaign.

The key to a successful campaign is targeting and segmenting.  Don’t expect everyone to like your book or be interested in it.  In fact, assume the opposite.  Most media and consumers will not care about your book – but that’s okay.  You only need to impress a handful of kick-off, word-of-mouth buzz.

So step back from your book and try to see things objectively.  Who would likely be most interested in your book?  What would they look like demographically?  What type of people would they be?  What experiences would they likely have had?  What views would they be prone to hold?

Now think of where such people gather – online and in the physical world.  What types of media would they consume?  What is it that they want to hear, that would appeal to them?

Really narrow down who your targeted reader is and filter all of your actions through that prism.  Market to your reader – not all readers.  By dismissing 99% of the population, you are on the road to success!

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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