3 Tips to Quickly Identify Who You're Writing For
One of the things you want to avoid as an author is the awkward silence after you publish your book.
Anyone who has ever experienced it will tell you this is one of the most frustrating feelings in the world. You just wrote a phenomenal book. You have an amazing book cover, you went through editing to make sure the story is cohesive, and you even have a professionally written author bio and synopsis, but no one is buying your book.
Sounds scary, right?
You know what's even scarier? How simple the solution is. All you need to do is identify your ideal reader. Your ideal readers, also called your target audience, are the people who want the book that you wrote. So today I'm briefly going to discuss three tips to help you identify your target audience and explain why you should know who they are before you even begin writing to avoid that painful silence.
Tip #1 - Identify a Problem You Have a Solution For
Two of the biggest book markets are the inspirational and self-help categories. This is largely because people want to find simple solutions to the issues they are experiencing in life.
A mother with a wayward team that she's not sure what to do with may look for a book on parenting difficult children or on strategies to improve the way that she interacts with her child.
A teacher who feels undervalued may look for a book that emphasizes his importance in the classroom and to the children that he's teaching.
A new entrepreneur who is having trouble launching their business may look to a book from someone with experience in that arena to provide them a road map to success.
The best books always have a problem that the words inside will help readers find the solution to.
What knowledge do you have that can help someone else?
What obstacle have you overcome that you can guide someone else through?
What tough life lessons have you gone through that you can stop someone else from experiencing?
These are problems someone else may be having that you already have the answer for. This will be the foundation for the book that you are going to write and ensure it has tangible benefits for the reader, making them need to read it to find their answer.
Tip #2 - Identify Who Has This Problem
One of the biggest mistakes I hear new authors make is saying their book is for everyone.
A book for everyone is a book for no one.
You have to niche down and write with someone in mind to be effective.
If the problem you will provide a solution for is maintaining a good credit score throughout the college years, the people you are writing for could fit into the following categories:
· Young adults between the ages of 16 and 24.
· May not have full time jobs.
· May still depend on their parents partially for financing.
· May require student loans to pay for their education.
· Are using credit for the first time in their lives.
· Are living on their own for the first time.
· Feel pressure to keep up with the latest trends.
· Have trouble balancing needs against wants.
What you are going to do is sit down and list out the characteristics of this person you are writing to, just like I did in the example above. Ask yourself:
· Who are they?
· What do they do?
· Where are they at this current stage in life?
· How old are they?
· What is their financial status?
· Are they married or single?
· Are they established in life or just beginning?
· Are they younger or older?
· Are they male or female?
· What do they want?
· What do they like to do in their free time?
Once you know the issue you plan to address, take the time to write out a profile for the type of person experiencing this problem. Doing so will help you niche down your audience, so you are writing with a specific type of person in mind.
The person you’re speaking to is very important since it will dictate what you say and how you say it. Which leads us to tip #3…
"In my opinion, understanding who your target audience is, and what they want, and writing to them (and only them) is the most important component of being successful as an author." John Locke
Tip #3 - Decide How You Want to Reach Them
This last tip is one of the most important ones I can give. It is critical that you decide before you begin writing how you want to come across to the person who was going to read your book.
If you're writing a book to teach people a skill, for example, you should sound like a subject matter expert. You may not want to rely too heavily on comedic moments or satire since that could undermine your credibility. However, if you're writing a book to teach young readers how to avoid pitfalls that you made as a youth, you may want to rely more on seeming relatable and your sense of humor since being overly serious sometimes can scare away a younger reader who doesn't want to be preached to or lectured.
Do you want to pull at their heartstrings and tell them a story that is going to make them feel emotionally vulnerable or do you want to spend your time developing a rapport with the reader, so they feel like you're a long-lost friend or family member who is offering advice? Figuring this out before you begin writing will inform your tone and even the structure of the book.
It's Never Too Late to Find Your Target Audience
If you've already finished your book don’t panic. You can still use these tips to find the people who want to read your book.
And while I'm here let me destroy the myth that no one wants to read your book.
Every book has an audience!
There is something out there for everyone. Just because a book may not be one person's cup of tea does not mean no one will enjoy it. When you're writing with purpose, there is an audience out there for you. Don't ever let anyone tell you no one is going to read your work. There's absolutely someone out there waiting to read the words you wrote. You just have to find them.
I hope these tips helped!
p.s. Here's a book from an author I really enjoyed working with. His name is Lewis Pressley and he wrote a book about the wisdom he used, as well as the mistakes he made along the way, to become financially stable and not ruin his credit early in life.
The way he tells a story keeps you engaged, his comedic timing is incredible, and though the book is full of practical information, you feel like you're reading a story about a friend because he's so candid. He freely gives his advice without exalting himself to a level where he is unrelatable. His book is available on Amazon. Please get a copy as soon as you can. Give it to all the young people in your life who either are in college or will be headed that way soon. They will thank you for it!
I look forward to talking to you again very soon.
Have an amazing day!