If I asked you who your book was aimed at, could you tell me?
These may not seem important to some writers, but I can tell you that knowing your audience is extremely important.
Knowing who is your audience is needed for things like choosing a Beta Reader or asking for ARC (Advance Reader Copy) reviews not to mention when it comes to actually sell your published book.
Do you know who your audience is?
Who our audience is should be defined early on. It would be great if your book would appeal to everyone. But it won’t.
If you ever hear anyone say “my book is for everyone” then they have zero understanding of audiences, and marketing. So you need to know who you are going to be focusing on.
So take some time and figure out what your book is about. There is usually an over-arching genre but go deeper than that. Do you write Apocalyptic Sci-Fi? How about Tragic Romance?
Why do I need to know?
You want people to read your work. You want them to buy your work. To share your work and become a fan.
If you don’t know who you are aiming at, you are going to struggle to do those things. This information is needed for when you are marketing your book.
Also, if you aim it at the wrong people, you could end up with negative reviews for no other purpose than the reader was expecting something different.
Before you even finish your book decide who it’s for. This should be broken down into sections. Figure out exactly what your book is and who it’s for.
Basic: Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Second Level: (Further genre-specific): Comedy, dystopia, mystery
Third level: Young Adult / Adult / New Adult / Children
You want people to know exactly what you write. For example, say you want a review and ask someone “Please review my book”
Reviewer says: “What genre is it?”
You reply: “Thriller”
Reviewer: “I love thrillers, send it over”
Now maybe your thriller is more of a comedy thriller, or maybe it’s a dark noir thriller. Say that reviewer really loves dark gritty thrillers and assumed that’s what you wrote. But instead, it’s more comedy, tongue-in-cheek thriller.
They aren’t going to be as interested.
The clearer we are, the more likely we can find the right people for our books.
So know what genre you write, what age range your readers are likely to be, what elements are within your books.
Does it really make a difference?
Oh yes. I personally have been sent books that were described as one type of genre (that I liked) only to find out that while, yes it technically IS that genre, it was definitely a kids book.
Only later did I then see the author proport it was for “everyone” and believe me, it wasn’t!
So I was truly not the target audience and couldn’t get through the books since I had zero interest.
All that does it:
a) waste the person’s time
b) waste your time
c) possibly end up with a bad review that didn’t need to happen.
Targeting your audience
If you’re a writer then you should at least be wearing a Marketing Hat every now and then.
Whether traditionally or self-published, all writers have to market their books and marketing takes time. (If you are going traditionally published and believe the publisher will be doing all the marketing, you have a hard lesson awaiting you!)
Don’t waste it marketing to people who won’t be interested in the first place.
Go after those who will be more likely to want to read your book, who may become life-long fans and who can then tell their friends, who like the same sort of thing, about your work.
Also, don’t wait to be published to start learning about how to market and develop a marketing plan. If you do you are losing valuable time and have to work harder to build up interest.
What do I do?
Be clear in your book blurb/description. If there’s comedy, let people know, if it’s a dystopia, spell it out. Is your protagonist 13 years old? State it.
Make sure people are aware of key aspects that might be important to whether that book is for them.
When you market your book on Social Media, don’t just blast out to everyone “Hey, Read My Book” and add a link. Tell people about it.
Example: “Do you like fast-action spy stories with a hint of mystery? Then you’ll love my new Young Adult book ‘Joey McSpy, the Spy Who Spies‘, here’s a link.” (feel free to write that book people, I give you that awful title for free!) 😀
See? These two lines tell me it’s action, spy, little bit of mystery and it’s a Young Adult book.
Think about your book/story, decide what it covers re genre, elements, age ranges etc (And yes you don’t have to be limited to this. Harry Potter was for kids but adults love it.) But it’s marketing was aimed at kids, and adults jumped on board afterwards. This came from parents who got the book for their kids.
If you’re starting out, you want to give yourself a good head-start with your marketing. This is especially important if you are using Paid Advertising. Because then you’re wasting money as well.
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy my Why it’s important to think about your readers that covers things to think when writing your novel.