Who will your readers be? What is their age group? Profession? Interests?
“What kind of reader did you imagine while writing?”
“Which individuals will benefit from reading your book?”
“Who do you think will buy your novel?”
“Can your book attract readers of books from other genres?”
While writing, it is easy to have a specific audience in mind. Since I write middle-grade, I think of upper elementary / lower middle school kids as I create a story. But now that my work is on submission, I need to think beyond this initial audience.
What other people might be interested in your book?
Think about your story. What things about it make it unique? My novel-in-verse, MAY B., takes place in Kansas in the 1870s. May struggles with an unnamed learning disability, most likely dyslexia.
How can these unique aspects interest those beyond your initial audience? Brainstorm a list, however ridiculous, of others who might find your story interesting.
Here’s what I’ve come up with for MAY:
- Readers of Louisiana Literature magazine (a portion of MAY B. was featured in LA Lit’s 2009 spring/summer edition)
- Learning disability organizations
- Learning disability educators
- Blogs/sites for parents with learning disabilities
- Dyslexic organizations
- Dyslexic education
- Dyslexic blogs/sites for parents with dyslexic children
- Kansas Historical Society
- Kansas Historical museums
- Kansas libraries
- Kansas schools, teaching programs, and teachers
- National Council for Teachers of Social Studies
- Adolescent literature professors
- Museum gift shops in the Mid-West
- Kansas newspapers
- Mid-West Magazine? Sunset?
- Kansas public radio
Though some of these groups listed might be a stretch (NCTSS probably won’t take much interest, for example, and I have no idea if Sunset Magazine does book reviews, let alone reviews for children’s books), I’ve expanded my thinking about my audience.
I’m slowly starting to collect addresses, phone numbers, and email for Kansas Museums. Maybe sometime soon I’ll seek out some sites on learning disabilities, not to toot my own horn, but to add to the conversation. Promotion is as much about respecting your audience as it is sharing your book.
What groups beyond your initial audience could be part of your target audience?
One of my favorite flights of fancy to engage in when thinking of publishing is how cool it would be to connect with museums and community groups whose audience would be shared with my book and see what we could do for each other. Geeky, yeah.
Caroline Starr Rose says
Not at all. I’d just call that thinking intentionally about your target audience.
Heidi Willis says
That’s a great list! I love the idea of respecting your audience as much as sharing your book.
I did this with my book too – the diabetes groups, the Christian groups, the medical community. It’s been very helpful in helping me attack marketing in a more targeted way.
Good question! Targeting the audience is critical, leaving the door open for all readers to benefit is wise.
Love your breakdown.
Shannon O'Donnell says
It’s smart to target your audience like that. I’ll have to give it a try. Another great post! 🙂
Jemi Fraser says
It’s certainly important to know who the target is when you’re writing 🙂
Awesome list!! Thanks for giving me so much to think about!!!
Julie Dao says
That’s such a great idea! I’ve never thought above and beyond about the audience, but that could really help the writing itself. Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll definitely have to try this for my current WIPs!
Sarah Skilton says
Terrific post; good food for thought. My book deals with magicians, and the Magic Castle in Hollywood, so there’s a chance it has a niche market in various magic platforms. (Did I even use those terms correctly? Clearly I’ll have to keep checking your blog 🙂
This is a great idea for blog posts. Thanks for sharing your list with us. It’s kick-starting my brain into adding to my own list.
See, now this is why blogging is so important…It’s impossible for me to think up this kind of stuff on my own! Thanks for giving me some food for thought, Caroline.