Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Your Target Audience

Interrupting this post to say I'm out of town. So pardon any delays in publishing comments. Please comment anyway! :)

Well, yes, in a way. You gotta target people.

But we won't use stones. Not the best marketing strategy in the world. Even if it tempts you.

Moving on.

Who is your target audience? 

Too often, I see authors trying to sell their books to everybody. Maybe they don't think they are, but that is how it comes across. And it doesn't work.

One of the hard facts of being an author is that not everybody is going to like your book. More particularly, not everyone reads your genre. So you have to determine your target audience (preferably before you start marketing) and then start targeting.

Here are the basic questions to ask yourself:

  • Who will enjoy it? (Not everybody.)
  • What age range is it for?
  • What kinds of people will read it?
  • Are there people who will read it even if it not their typical genre?

Now, I am more-or-less blessed. Historical-fiction is a popular genre and the age range is from 13+ through adult. People who read fantasy, thrillers, or romance might pick up a historical-fiction because so many of the elements are similar. And homeschoolers and Christian schools are always glad to incorporate historical books into their curriculum. 

So I have a fairly big target audience. But I still have to market and target them. I know they like historical-fiction, but do they know that they will like my particular books? Once you know your target audience, you have to target their particular interests.

Here are a few basics:
  • Customize your elevator pitch per the different circles inside your target audience. (For instance, I talk about the historical-accuracy and learning tools when dealing with homeschoolers. I talk about the action with the guys. Girls know about the romance. And I make sure to let Christians know about the Biblical worldview.)
  • Find the people who will want to know about your book. You can't wait around for them to find you. Your target audience has certain circles they hang out in. Discover them. Do you write romance? Find a girl's blog and offer to do a guest post. Do you write children's books? Get involved with your local library, homeschool groups, or Christian school.
  • Can you identify with your readers? People tend to like certain kinds of books because of their interests. And their interests are always personal. Maybe you meet someone who went through a devastating loss. Will your book help them with that? A mother is complaining about the lack of good children's books. Does your book fit the criteria of what she is looking for?
  • Maybe you mentioned Starbucks or Chick-fil-A in your book. See about doing a book signing or promotional there. If nothing else, readers who like a certain kind of food or a certain place will be drawn to your book.
So find out your target audience and start targeting! 

Questions or Comments?

Alicia A. Willis is a home-school graduate, published author, and avid historian. She is a firm believer in the principle that one can accomplish anything by substantial amounts of prayer and coffee. Visit her at her blog or Facebook to view her historical-fiction novels and all the goings-on between writing!


  1. Thanks for sharing, Alicia. You are so right; we need to focus on the age group that will best enjoy our books. My book is best for ages 6-12 and I really enjoyed writing it at the age of 11.

    I've read one or two interviews that you did on other blogs and I think it's so neat that you wrote your first book, (if I remember correctly), as a young teenager.

    Hope you have a great day!

    His Princess

    1. How fun! I'm so happy to hear more about your book. Yes, that is correct - I wrote my debut novel when I was quite young. It went through 8 years of revision and rewrites, but the initial storyline was created at a very young age! :)


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