Finding your Book’s Target Market

This post is the fifty-first post in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

The stories about authors who succeeded without any marketing are rare. Most books, even the really good ones, will become lost in the jumble of the millions of other available titles unless something is done to make them stand out, to make them become discoverable to their target audience.
This is one thing that many authors don’t take the time to find – their target audience. It does no good to spend all your time and marketing effort to try to sell your book to EVERYONE.

First off, EVERYONE doesn’t buy books. And then the ones that do have their own interests and tastes. There usually is no use trying to sell a techno-thriller to someone who enjoys romances or a historical novel to someone who reads futuristic sci-fi adventures. No book will appeal to EVERYONE.
The key question to ask yourself is “Who is going to buy my book when they are bombarded with all those other books?”

If you can answer that question, you will know where to spend your marketing efforts. If not, you need to take some time to figure out what makes your book unique. Is there something special about your character? Do they love cats or surfing? Identifying what makes your character special can provide a powerful “hook” that resonates with a prospective book buyer. Also look at where your book takes place. You might be able to build a promotion based on that location.

When looking at your book, the more relevant your book is to a specific audience, the more connected you will be with them. Think of this as an inverted triangle. At the top is the broad topic (such as the genre), and as you get to the tip of the triangle, you get more specific to who is interested in that genre would read your book. You may be able to narrow your target audience down by age, gender, income level or even their viewpoints on religion or politics. (Don’t be worried if you can’t get this detailed.)

Basically, you have two target audiences: the General Target Audience (people who would be interested in your fiction as a whole) and your Specific Target Audience for each book (people who would be interested in that particular book).

Here are some tips to finding your target market.

1.) Genre – This is the easiest one, but don’t be too general. You need to look at the subcategories of the genre. You can’t simply say your novel is a romance or fantasy and be done with it. It is important to know the sub genre as not every reader reads every sub genre of romance or fantasy.

2.) Setting – If your story takes place in a real, recognizable place, the regional color you add can get the book into local book stores and gift shops.

3.) Theme – Think about who might resonate with the life lesson your novel teaches. If you are writing about single motherhood, you might find mom-bloggers with similar interests to be your ally.

4.) Problem – If you are dealing with a real problem – autism, cancer, alcoholism, you might connect with readers facing those same issues.

5.) Character – Your protagonist might represent your target market. Are they a surfer, a college student or a cat lover? Your character may belong to a professional, social or ethnic group that will appeal to your reader.

6.) You, the Author – If you bring a certain knowledge to your book (say as an attorney or doctor writing a legal or medical thriller), you might look at your own affiliations for marketing ideas.

Finding the right target audience for your book can be the difference between excited readers and sales versus a bunch of disappointment and wasted effort trying to sell your book to people who don’t want to buy it and never will.

If you know your target market, you can speak directly to the people who already want your book. This saves you time, energy and money on advertising. When you speak to your target market, you don’t have to really “sell” your book. You only need to let them know your book exists, and they will be ready to buy it.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

#49 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

#50 – Marketing your E-book

Packing for an Alaskan Cruise

Earlier this month, my family went on a cruise to Alaska. It was awesome. If you missed my recap, you can read it here.

Preparing for an Alaskan cruise is a bit different than other cruises to warmer climates. For one, it is cooler (highs in the 60s to 80s). And second, there is a greater chance of rain (up to a 50% chance in August). So, coming from Texas where the average temperature in August is 96 and the chance of rain is slim, it is a big difference.

Lexie and Jase in the Tracy Arm Fjord. Light jackets here.

The problem I had was trying to figure out how cool (or cold) 60 degrees would feel. And you have to realize that this is the high of the day. It won’t be 60 degrees on your morning excursion. And if that high is while your ship is at sea, you have to take into account that it is windy on the decks and balconies.

To prepare for our trip, I did a lot of research about what to bring. I read dozens of blogs. I made a list and amended it as I read other peoples experiences. I particularly liked the blogs that told you what they packed and then what they didn’t use or wish they had or hadn’t taken. That is what I am going to do here.

The family preparing to go rafting in Juneau. It was such a nice day we didn’t need the jackets or at least Jase and I would have been fine in just our long sleeve shirts. (Sorry no pictures of me. I am the one taking the photos.)

I will say that there are quite a few things that we took that we didn’t use, but if we had had different weather, we would have needed these items. It didn’t rain on our trip but for the few weeks before us, all it did was rain. Excursions were cancelled due to the weather. But for us, everything was nice and sunny.

Our trip was from Tuesday to Tuesday (7 days’ worth of clothes).

My Packing List

6 short sleeve shirts

3 long sleeve shirts (only wore 2 and only for part of the day)

3 pairs of jeans (could have gotten away with 2)

1 bathing suit (Yep, the kids and I went to the pool one day)

8 pair of underwear (brought extra in case I got wet, only used 7)

2 bras

8 socks (brought extra in case I got wet, only used 7)

PJs

1 pair of Tennis shoes (& wore one on the plane – took 2 again because of the possibility of rain)

1 pair of heeled sandals (as this is my normal footwear, and yes, I wore them around the ship)

1 pair of black heels (to go with all my evening attire)

2 evening dresses (could have done with 1)

1 black skirt

2 dressy tops (could have done with 1 less but like option of having more night-time attire)

1 casual dress

1 thin blue hoodie (never used)

1 thicker hoodie

1 fleece jacket

1 rain jacket (never used)

1 hat (never used)

Pair of gloves (never used)

The crew aboard the ship. Sweatshirts and light jackets for the brisk wind were all that was needed.

We brought the thicker hoodie and fleece jacket because every website said I would need to layer my clothes. I could have just taken one or the other. Once I had a long sleeve shirt and jacket on, I didn’t need an additional layer.

Hubby’s Packing List

1 pair of shorts (never used but then again he doesn’t wear shorts often. I wore shorts on the plane both times but not on the cruise.)

3 pairs of jeans (again, could have taken 1 less since he wore 1 on the plane too.)

1 pair of dress pants (never used)

2 polo shirts

2 dress shirts (could have done with 1 but he did wear both)

2 ties

1 suit

Dress shoes

1 pair of tennis shoes (and wore 1 pair on the plane)

6 short sleeve shirts (could have taken 5)

2 long sleeve shirts

2 pair dress socks

7 pair of regular socks

PJs

Swimsuit (never used)

Baseball hat (never used)

Gloves (never used)

Winter hat (never used)

Rain jacket (never used)

Heavy jacket

Zippered Hoodie (could have let at home)

Pullover hoodie

Other Items

Binoculars (we took 3 pair for the 4 of us – we didn’t use them as often as I thought we might and I think we could have gotten by with 2)

Sunglasses (I had read that you should take polarized sunglasses because the light bouncing off the water and glaciers – we don’t normally wear them so we could have left these at home)

MonoPod (Never used it)

Charging Port for our electronics

Mosquito repellent (never used)

Sunscreen (never used)

Backpack (Used this one on every excursion and love that it can fold up into a small bag)

Camera (a MUST though could have left the kids’ cameras at home. Jase used his iphone and Lexie didn’t seem interested in taking photos but I did use her camera which is waterproof on our river rafting excursion)

Travel Clock (I like having one in the room even though we all had our phones with us)

Toiletries and medicine (we brought what we normally use)

Because of the number of shoes and the bulkiness of packing jeans and jackets for four people, we ended up checking three bags. It was easier than trying to stuff it all into two and then we didn’t have to worry about exceeding the weight limit per bag. There were just a few things I would have left at home but honestly, I would pack many of the same things (because you can’t always expect it not to rain.) Hope this helps someone.

Today’s Featured Author – Edward King

Today, I welcome Edward King to my blog. He is on a blog tour promoting his book, The Works of Christ: My Proof of God’s Existence.

Excerpt

Sometimes we lose vision, and we’re blinded by our desires,

but the Lord always cares about us, and he always inspires

a servant of his to show each of us some clues

that he will always love us, and his guidance, we’ll never lose.

From our birth to our death, he will always be there

to cleanse us of our sins and enable us to care

and love every one of our brothers and sisters in his name,

for he loves us so much, he totally cleansed everyone’s shame.

About the Book

In August 2010, Edward King was in a traumatic car accident that nearly ended his young life. From this accident, he had an incredible out-of-body experience. This is his story along with a collection of simple poetry designed to help one come closer to Christ.

About the Author

Edward King is a positive-writing author, who tells us about how to look at things in a positive perspective. With his inspirational writings, he has come a long way from being at on verge of death to being able to inspire many people with both his life and his writings. With his quick healing from the death-defying car accident, Edward King goes through everyday looking to God for all of his answers and finds so much inspiration. He writes to show everyone the God he knows.

You can purchase The Works of Christ here.

Marketing your E-book

This post is the fiftieth in a series about writing a novel. You can check out the list of past topics at the end of this post.

Some authors think that once they have written and published their book, their job is over, and it is time to begin the next one. While it is true that you should begin work on your next book as nothing makes an author more appealing than a list of books they have written, you aren’t done with the one you just published. It is now time to market your book.

While marketing usually starts BEFORE the book comes out (see cover reveal/pre-orders), you must continually market your book. Because while you may have written an awesome story, there are millions of other available titles out there, and you need to help readers to find yours.

Marketing takes time. Not just the time to do it but the time to see results. You have to keep working at marketing to be successful. Remember that this is a marathon and not a sprint. You need to be in it for the long haul.

There really is no sure-fire method for marketing. What works for one author may or may not work for you. But there are two main keys to marketing.

YOU are the BRAND.

The first thing you need to realize is that you are marketing yourself and not your book. Your marketing efforts are building recognition of your brand, which is YOU.

By working on name recognition, your marketing efforts will eventually lead to sales. The key word is “eventually.”

It works the same way as a company running TV commercials. The viewer of the commercial is not often in the position to buy that product right at that moment, but the company wants the viewer to remember their name so when they are at the store, they will see and buy their product.

You need to apply this principle to your marketing. You want people to recognize your name so that when they see your book, they want to buy it (or at least be interested enough to click the button and read the book description.)

That takes me to my second key to marketing….

Marketing takes TIME

So, you began marketing – a Twitter campaign, a guest post, a contest or even an ad on a website – and then there is no spike in sales. That does not mean that your promotion failed. You should not expect instant results.

People typically need to see a name (or book title) many times before they take the time and effort to learn more. So, you need to look at this from a long-haul marketing plan.

This means you always need to be advertising – not just when a new book is released. You may choose to do something once a week or once a month, but you need to consistently work to get your name out there.

And of course, the best bet would not be to pick an activity at random but to look for something that will reach your target market, which we will address next week.

Previous topics

#1 – Deciding to write a novel – Writing Myths

#2 – Three areas to develop before starting to write a novel

#3 – Finding a Story Idea and How to Know if it “good enough”

#4 – Developing Characters for your Novel

#5 – Major characters? Minor Characters? Where does everyone fit in?

#6 – Developing the Setting for your Novel

#7 – The importance of developing conflict in your novel plot

#8 – To Outline or not to outline 

#9 – The importance of a story arc

#10 – The importance of tension and pace

#11 – Prologue and opening scenes

#12 – Beginning and ending scenes in a novel

#13 – The importance of dialogue…and a few tips on how to write it

#14 – Using Internal Dialogue in your novel

#15 – More dialogue tips and help with dialogue tags

#16 – Knowing and incorporating back story into your novel

#17 – Hinting at what is to come with foreshadowing

#18 – Tips for writing different scenes in your novel

#19 – Dealing with Writer’s Block

#20 – Killing a Character in your Novel

#21 – Keeping things realistic in your novel

#22 – Establishing Writing Goals and Developing Good Writing Habits

#23 – Using the five senses and passive voice in your novel

#24 – The benefit of research in fiction writing

#25 – Novella or Novel, Trilogy or Series – decisions for writers

#26 – Avoiding Plot and Character Clichés

#27 – Novel Writing – Endings and Epilogues

#28 – Fantasy Novel Writing – World Building, Dragons, Magic and More

#29 – Finishing your First Draft

#30 – Your Second Draft and Beyond

#31 – Picking Stronger Words and Watching out for Homonyms

#32 – Omitting unnecessary words in your novel

#33 – Beta Reader, Proofreaders and Copy Editors

#34 – Knowing your grammar or at least using a grammar checking program

#35 – Using a Revision Outline during your Novel Editing

#36 – Editing Techniques: Taking a Break and Reading Aloud

#37 – Publishing Options for your book

#38 – Self-publishing an ebook decisions

#39 – Picking Your Book Title and Your Pen Name

#40 – Investing in an eye-catching book cover

#41 – Writing an awesome book blurb

#42 – Deciding on Front Matter for your novel

#43 – Deciding on Back Matter for your novel

#44 – Formatting your eBook for publication

#45 – Pricing your e-book

#46 – Selecting Categories and Keywords to improve your Novel’s visibility

#47 – Book Promotions: Cover Reveal and Pre-Orders

#48 – Publishing your novel with Amazon and KDP Select

$29 – Publishing your e-book with Smashwords or Draft2Digital

Knowing how to swim doesn’t stop 6-year-old from drowning

So many times, when you see a story about a child drowning, there will be comments such as “This is why my kids learned to swim” or something to that effect. People seem to think that knowing how to swim will safe guard their child from drowning. But sadly that isn’t the case as my neighbor found out.

Last Saturday, my neighbor had some friends over to enjoy her pool. That group included her daughter and her granddaughter. Six year old Ryland is a good swimmer. She has been taking lessons since she was three. She even has competed in a few swim meets. Ryland loves the pool and plays in her grandma’s (who she calls Bunny) pool all the time.

The doctors chalk it up to exhaustion causing her oxygen levels to suddenly drop while she held her breath as she tried to retrieve all of her dive sticks. The drop caused her to pass out. Her family was right there at the pool, but it still took them a moment or two to realize Ryland hadn’t come up for air. They immediately jumped in and pulled her out. She wasn’t breathing.

Luckily, there was nurse attending the party. She performed CPR as someone else called 911. Ryland began breathing again and was rushed to the hospital. While she was breathing on her own, she wasn’t conscious. They admitted her to the pediatric intensive care unit where they decided to keep her in a medically induced coma while they evaluated her.

It would be three days before they decided to bring her out of the coma. At that time, they knew she had some liver damage and there was still fluid in her lungs. But they wouldn’t know if there was any brain damage until they woke her up. Instant relief could be felt in the room as she immediately recognized her mother and her Bunny. She was able to whisper the answer to a few questions.

The next day, they took her off oxygen and even allowed her to get up though she tires easily and definitely isn’t back to her normal cheerful self. There will be a few more tests to run before she will be released from the hospital and her lungs will need the heal but so far everything miraculously looks good.

But Ryland’s story is a reminder to all of us that we need to be alert when our children are in the water. They could get a cramp, hit their head or as in the case of Ryland, suddenly pass out, and drown. Knowing how to swim is a good thing for everyone but it doesn’t make you “drown proof.”

Ryland’s mother is a single parent. While she has insurance for Ryland, there will undoubtedly be medical bills to pay. To help her out, a Go Fund Me page has been set up to collect donation to cover these costs. I know you don’t know this family but if you want to help, they and I would appreciate it. Even a small donation helps.