Friday, September 19, 2014

Back to Basics: Know Your Audience

Lately, we've been feeling a need to rewind and go back to basics on a few topics. So, let's step back and take a moment to talk about your audience.

Who is your audience?

Sounds like a simple question, but we've seen many authors struggle with answering this question. During one of our first presentations, we had an author in the front row yell "kids." When we asked her, "What kind of kids?" she shrugged and repeated "kids, you know - kids." So we framed the question another way: "How old are these 'kids'? Are they 5-6 years old? Pre-teen? Early teens? Mid-teens? Heading off to college? There is a dramatic difference in types of books you would market to a 5-6 year old versus a 16-19 year old." We witnessed a 'light bulb moment' of insight from this author almost immediately.

So, "who is your audience?" To put this question another way: "Who is your ideal reader?"
Is your ideal reader a:

  • 30-45 year old woman struggling to balance the demands of work, family, and extended care giving?
  • 20-40 year old fashionista?
  • 25-50 year old businessman who spends more time in airport lounges than he does at the local pub?
  • 16-21 year old fantasy and sci-fi readers?
  • 3-4 year-olds starting preschool?
Morgan says: My current WIP is a young adult, Americana steampunk adventure. I'm shooting for a 16-21 year old reader. I like focusing on this age group because they are in the midst of transitioning from a young teenager to a new adult. Many of the choices they make at this age will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of their lives. I want them to know that they aren't alone and that they can feel empowered to make good decisions.
Therese says: My current WIP will be marketed as a New Adult romance novel. This is a developing genre and I chatted with a variety of editors at the RT convention regarding what defines this genre, in their opinion, at this time, which could change next year. "New Adult" novels feature characters in their early 20's who are trying to create their own life instead of reaching age appropriate scholastic, or societal, benchmarks. My target readers are the 19-26 year old females who have scholastic degrees, jobs, their own car, maybe even their own apartment, and they want a relationship too... This will be a marketing challenge. Young women in that stage of their life aren't reading a lot of romance novels. They've got plans and agendas and goals... I know these women. I adore them!

Once you know your audience, you'll be able to focus your marketing efforts and specifically target your readers.

In our next post, we'll talk about how to "Go To Your Audience via Social Media."

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