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How to Identify a Target Audience for Your Book
You may feel that your book could be a huge commercial success if only the right people knew it existed. And you'd be right. If there were ways to know your target audience, you could reach out and convince them to buy your book. This article shows ways to identify a target audience, recognize their interests, and discover the most effective channels for reaching them.
Why do you need a target audience?
As a self-published author, you may not have the resources to market to everyone as giant publishing houses do. Your best approach is to identify people actively seeking books like yours and appeal to them. If those people love your work, word of mouth will quickly spread, and you build a loyal following that eagerly awaits your next release. Having this in mind, let's consider four steps to identifying your target audience.
1. Develop a proto-persona for your work
A proto-persona is an in-depth description of the perfect reader for your book. It involves defining all their characteristics as precisely as possible, making assumptions about their gender, age, interests, habits, etc. Your literary masterpiece can be for a 26-year-old undergrad studying English Literature who loves reading classic novels from the 20th century. Or your self-help book about living healthily as a mother for a 35-year-old new mom who loves nutrition and pop philosophy.
2. Consider your personality and interests
You can also create this persona by considering your characteristics. Who you are and what you're interested in can be good pointers to who your readers are. After all, you're writing a book that you'd love to read or a book based on your experience. So think about your age, sex, hobbies, qualifications, and favorite genres. Check out your favorite authors and see who also enjoys their works and how these authors interact with their fans. Emulate people who are already where you want to be, but do it with your unique voice.
3. Narrow your audience with social media research
Social media is perfect for researching potential readers. Facebook Audience Insights can give you detailed statistics on audience demographics and interests. You can search for people whose interests include the top author in your genre and get to know their age and gender split, geographical location, and other pages they’ve liked. Twitter and Google+ can also offer the same data. If you want to find out who is talking about a book, an author, or a genre, you can use Twitter Advanced Search. By combining these tools, you can deduce insightful information that will help you find the right approach to reach your target audience.
4. Test assumptions with Facebook Advertising
You can assume who your readers are, what they like, where they hang out, and how they behave. But to guarantee success, you need to test these assumptions. Without testing, your marketing efforts will still be lacking and can be ineffective. So, to become successful as an author, start thinking like an entrepreneur. Let's say you want to find out whether your book will appeal more to Tom Clancy's or John Grisham's fans. Create two Facebook ads with the same image and a similar copy and target them at these two respective target audiences. And if fans of John Grisham respond better to your ad with a higher click-through rate, then you have your answer. You can run a similar test on your image or the tone and length of the text you intend to use.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Frank Stephen