In it a writer laid out fiction marketing advice for beginners. I suppose I should have stopped right there, for any of the following reasons:
- I’ve written 16 novels and novellas;
- I’ve written in multiple genres;
- I’ve written more than 1 million words of fiction.
So…I’m not a beginner. But I just had to wade into this conversation by asking a few questions.
At that point I get some more advice, which just wasn’t that useful. See, often advice is given from one person’s perspective and nothing else. Often this advice worked for them, and according to their way of thinking, it’s a magic bullet that will work for everyone.
But is that true? It got me thinking, especially about these questions:
- So what advice is useful to you and how do you take it?
- Is taking marketing advice about nonfiction from a fiction author a good idea?
- How about pricing advice from someone who sells everything at $0.99 or $3.99 or $7.99?
- Is taking advice from someone selling well in one genre better than advice from someone selling well in several genres?
- When you’re taking advice from two people selling poorly, how do you decide which is better?
These are tough questions, and I’m willing to bet you’re not thinking much about them when you’re out there on the blogosphere reading around.
No one flashes a badge, shows their credentials, or offers their portfolio.
Sure, it’s often there if you want to look, but who does? I mean, you just wandered in from Google! So we pretty much take them on face value, or the social media followers they’ve got.
Now, my advice on selling novels might be pretty useless to many authors, but my advice on writing more than a million words a year might be interesting to even the most successful of authors out there. You never know.
Well, yeah, you do. You know because you know your audience…right?
My audience is sorry bastards like myself that just can’t seem to make it.
But is that good enough? I mean, what about their eye color, or sexual proclivities, or criminal history? Really, if you want to sell, you’ve got to know your target audience inside and out.
So let’s break out the plastic gloves and really dive in deep. Yep, here’s what you need to know to get your target audience profile set in stone, or at least into an easy-to-change mold that will get you started.
Coming Up with a Target Audience Checklist
Don’t worry about it – I don’t. Instead get started. I’ve found this simple demographics checklist is a good place to start:
- Marital Status
- Income group
- Purchasing history
- Personal product preferences
- Preferred mode of communication
- Internet access? Owns a computer? Etc.
Based upon that list I was able to devise who I think my target audience is, or who I want them to be:
- Married with 1 young child
- Middle Class, has a job, wife has a job, child in daycare, they're struggling
- Middle America, down-economy town, just service jobs
- New and latest games, movies, eBooks, some gadgets, collectibles
- Coke, Amazon, shopping online, Netflix,
- Email, text messaging
- High speed internet
Narrowing Down Your Target Audience Further
- Primary leisure activities
- Preferences (e.g. reading preferences, movie preferences, brand preferences, pets, etc.)
- Favourite sources of information (e.g. which web sites, magazines, chat rooms, etc.)
- Turn-ons, turn-offs
- Etc., based on what you need to know to reach the audience meaningfully
So based on that list this is what I was able to come up with:
- Biking, watching movies, playing computer games, writing, reading,
- Fantasy books, speculative fiction books, violent, suspenseful, thrilling, twits, cliff-hangers (sometimes when short)
- At least 90 minutes, action, thrilling, drama when good, not summer blockbuster, special effects ok when story is good, certain actors are worth following,
- Marlboro, Coke, Mountain Dew, Amazon, Microsoft, Google,
- Major news sites (NY Times, Wall Street Journal, WA Times), author forums, niche collectible forums,
- Women with attitude, women taking charge
So is that you? If not I guess I got it all wrong. But mainly that’s who I am and that’s the kind of person I’m going for.
Gosh, I made my target audience me. Maybe I’ve completely wasted my time. What do you think?