Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Importance of a Target Audience for Authors #MFRWauthor #mfrwblog

By now, we’ve all heard of the “long tail” in sales, from music to television shows to books. With the advent of the digital age, no longer are we all resigned to watching “Leave it to Beaver” together. Instead, we can download a mermaid ménage story or a YA fantasy romance, as we choose.

But what that means is that our marketing efforts are also more spread out. From genre-specific blogs to niche groups on Goodreads, from Pinterest boards to Youtube channels, there is a marketing avenue for all of us.  The problem, though, is that we all have limited time and resources. So we have to determine where our specific audience hangs out the most.
Where is my target audience?

Broad audience better?

Many of us write our books and hope that they appeal to a broad audience. But in all likelihood, we do have a targeted audience in mind already. For instance, if we write slightly steamier or erotic romance, we are probably not expecting the inspirational crowd to pick up our book, or vice versa.  And, we all know the feeling of having picked up a book that we thought was something else, only to be disappointed by its contents. (Will we ever go read that author again?)

However, if we have defined our audience, then everything from our cover to our taglines will reflect what the reader wants, and our readers will be happy to have their expectations met!  

So here are some ideas for determining our target audience:

Do a survey, either on Facebook, or better yet, through your newsletter subscriptions. Keep it simple – no more than ten questions – and, along with demographics like age and nationality, ask deeper questions about preferences and themes.  Ask what their favorite social media is, too.  

Your ideal readers:

Think hard about the type of person that you would want to read your books.  If you could dream up a reader, what would he or she look like? Define these:

• Personality
• Attitudes
• Values
• Interests/hobbies
• Lifestyles
• Behavior

Once you have those people in mind, it is easier to determine where they hang out, and then, market accordingly.

Ways to Market:

 Search blogs on your topic of interest (even if they are not romance-related), and ask to guest blog. For instance, my latest novels are set in the Paelolithic. I will be heavily targeting all of the Paleo lifestyle sites, too. (And loving that Paleo hashtag!)

Most people would normally recommend, too, that we buy more targeted ads on Goodreads or Facebook, however I still cannot find convincing data that says that these ads generate great sales. As many have said before me, the most important thing an author can do is 1. Write a great book and 2. Engage with readers on a personal level.

So finding your target audience will allow you to find those readers, and then engage with them where they are.  (Of course, like most things, this is easier said than done…)

What about you? What sort of target audience have you defined – or not – for yourself, and how has that helped your sales? Love to hear any and all comments!

About the Author:
Erin writes sensuous paranormal romances set in exotic locales. Her latest book is a sexy minotaur shifter story set in Crete.  A regular blogger for Marketing for Romance Writers as well as Heroes and Heartbreakers, Erin lives in Atlanta with her two little paranormal beings and one unruly husband.

Erin also now offers editing services, including help with bios and queries, on her website.  She's giving away a critique of a first chapter with a subscription to her newsletter

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