Create an avatar for your target audience
Many authors have brilliant ideas for books. It can be a personal story or fictitious. No matter what your idea may be, one of the first things outside of your brilliant idea for your book is to know your target audience. Who will want the book? Who is it meant for? Why would they have an interest? All of these questions need to be answered.
One way I suggest approaching this is to create an avatar. Not the blue people in the James Cameron movie! But more along the lines of a character you will develop as an image in your mind, which should be transferred on paper. It is best to have images or pictures near you when you do this. Consider it an activity that you can do alone, or get your family or co-author to be involved. Make it fun.
What does your target audience look like?
Are they blue? Well no! But what race are they? Are you catering to whites, blacks, Chinese, Indians? What about ethnicity? Is he/she/ Latino, Caribbean, or Native Indian? With the melting pot of races and ethnicity, you have to be as clear as you can about what your character looks like. In just the same way, you can describe the characters in your book and bring them to life, the same applies to your target audience.
What is their age group?
Depending on the type of book you have written, you need to know what age group would wish to consume your material, and the following categories can give you an idea of the various age groups: early adopters (6-12), teens/young adults (13-25), seniors/retirees (50+), working professionals (30-50). Knowing their age group also allows you to have an idea of the type of activities in which they may get involved. This is covered in the other question below.
Where would you find them?
Questions to help you answer this question are:
Where do they live? What type of community? Where do they hang out? What schools do/did they attend? Answers to these also help in targeting places to put your books. If you know where they are, then you know exactly where to go to market or to promote your books. As mentioned earlier, knowing their age also helps you to know what sort of activities they may get involved in such as citizens associations for the elders, clubs and societies, and personal development and growth organisations for the professionals. For the younger group, you have sporting clubs and socials.
What do they like/don't like?
Your target audience may be those who consume more audio than printed material. They spend a lot of time on the road or in traffic driving, so they will prefer audiobooks. They may be health enthusiasts who go jogging or to the gym, so audios work well for that group. Others may be avid readers. How would you know? Frequent visits to the book stores, or you may always see them with reading material, or you may go into their office or home and see that they own a library.
How do they dress?
Style of dress tells a lot about a person. It can suggest approximate income, confidence, and value placed on self as well as possible social status. From mode of dress, you can assess an individual to determine the type of reading material that would interest that person. As an example, a professional in the 25-50 age group would, therefore, be interested in books that speak to education, self-confidence, climbing the corporate ladder, travel, relationships, steps to success, and even living vicariously.
Social status was mentioned as the way someone dresses always presumes a certain standing in society. It is also associated with the type of friends your target audience may have and who are the movers and shakers or influencers. Moving towards this group of the target market for certain types of books will definitely land you in the right place.
Maybe, before having the idea or title of your book, you should start with knowing your target audience and writing books for that market. For, once you have the market, it is easy to get the books promoted, marketed, and generate sales. A chicken-and-egg situation? That's debatable and for another topic.
Either way, over time, this character you have created for your target audience may change or evolve based on changes in trends and habits, so you have to keep current with these changes in order to address them in your upcoming books so you always meet the needs of your audience.
Also bear in mind that you may have more than one target audience. As in marketing, you have various segments. the same applies for your target audience. You will have a primary and secondary target audience each distinctly different or may possessing some shared qualities.
It's also time to start becoming observant and homing in on your sense of hearing as well. Don't worry about eavesdropping. You know how to do it. Be purposeful but not nosy. When you are out and about, sharpen these skills as it will lead you to your target market.
- Corine La Font is a speaker, author, coach, and self-publishing consultant. She is also an award-winning publishing resource in the 2013 Small Business Book Awards. Get a copy of her book at http://amzn.to/TFHQka, Subscribe to her magazine at http://bit.ly/1IDj7pQ . tune in to her radio programmes at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/helpdeskja and http://www.blogtalkradio.com/youtripping. Check out her website at http://www.helpdeskja.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.