I recently met with an author who had written a book about an exotic pet he had once owned. He was having great success selling the book at in-person events and various markets, but not so much with online sales, so he asked me to help him.
He graciously sent me an autographed paperback copy, and I got to work. While I didn’t have the time to read the book from cover to cover, I skimmed it thoroughly enough to understand the story, and create a detailed marketing plan.
We had a lovely meeting on Zoom (like everyone else in 2020) and I shared my marketing ideas with him. These included updating the Amazon description and categories, giving him information about forming a support team, targeting specific organizations which may be interested in his book, reaching out to book clubs, and providing him with lots of cool images of his book.
See, all of the cool ways you can market a book if you just put in a little effort? But this author didn’t see that information as the take-away from our meeting. He was absolutely floored, and annoyed, that I had not read (and loved) the entire book.
Our author was one hundred percent certain that every single person who read his book would love it. Everybody. On Earth. No exceptions. This is every author’s hope, isn’t it?
While it might be every author’s hope, it is an unreasonable expectation, and it will prove to be detrimental to your book marketing strategy.
Think about it – how could your work possibly appeal to every single reader in the world? It can’t!
This is why it’s vital for you to give a lot of thought to the exact group of readers that you wish to target. Take a look at this image from our Book Marketing Planner. There’s an entire page dedicated to defining your book’s very specific audience.
I encourage you to really think about these questions:
- Who is this book for? “Everyone” is not an answer. – If you’ve written a women’s fiction novel, you can’t assume that every woman in the world will love it. Is the book a romance, or a thriller? I’m a woman, but I love a good, creepy thriller. Form a picture in your mind of your perfect reader, and really describe them.
- Who are the people reading books like yours? – This is a great time to research your competition. Who else is writing books similar to yours? And, please, don’t tell me that there are no books similar to yours – your book is so unique, and there are absolutely no other books on the market like yours! There are. This is also a great opportunity to survey the people in your own circle. Who, out of the people you know, would enjoy your book, and others like it?
- Are there secondary reader groups, different from your primary group? – Dig a little deeper. Look into the subcategories. Who else can you specifically target with your book?
- Where do your readers hang out online? – Ah…this is a good one. It hankers back to the question of, “Who is your target reader?” Granted, if your readers are a smidge older, like me, they are most likely to be on Facebook. The youngsters (20s and younger) are on TikTok. Most in-betweeners are in Instagram. Who the hell is on Twitter? I don’t know. Figure out which social media platform your readers are using the most, and learn how to use it to your advantage. You’ll need to build your platform and possibly spend a little money on advertising on social media.
- Who are the key influencers in their world? – This one is KEY! You should be constantly researching who the most influential people are, in your specific space. Who has the most social media followers? Who has a popular podcast or blog? And, of course, when reaching out to these influencers, do so with the intention of building a relationship. Don’t just be in it to get something from them – make sure they know that you want to help them, too.
You wrote your book with a specific audience in mind. Make sure you sell to them, also. Don’t do yourself or your book a disservice, by thinking that EVERYONE will love it!