Why do we as writers need to understand marketing? Quite simply it’s the only way you’re going to sell your book!
Before defining a target audience, the writer needs to examine themselves first. (Right, why do we always have to look at ourselves first? I don’t like it! It can be painful and depressing.) Making a ‘cliff notes’ bio will help you as an author define areas which you can connect to your market.
You can connect with people based on education, where you’ve traveled or where you hope to travel to, where you’ve lived. You can connect whether you’re married, divorced or single. Funny dating stories can be a good ice breaker whereas if you’re married, sharing how you mustered through storms can build camaraderie. You can connect through children, there are always tons of stories and helpful hints to be shared. Hobbies and past times can be a great point of connection. Golf can unite the unlikeliest people. Likewise cooking, sporting events, and quirky collections can spark conversation and common interests.
Being aware of which generational tags can be useful as well. Who’s going to buy your books? Are they boomers, genX, gen next, gen Y?
Which group has the disposable income, and what do they typically spend it on?
I’ve decided I’m going to make myself a Most Wanted poster. On this poster I’m going to put all the categories that apply to my potential customer. Who I’ve determined my target audience to be and specifics about them. I’ve been doing some research about this and I think I’ve narrowed it down.
Yesterday I was reminded that my writing is not everyone’s thing. A man commented that I had a good style but it wasn’t his cup of tea and asked whether I’d considered writing in other genres. Silly me, I thought it was a compliment. He went on to clarify some of the things he disliked about my cliché writing. OUCH! I had added an element to Love Notes that I felt added more to the storyline, apparently he didn’t agree. I took the bait he laid out and walked right into being slammed. For a comment about me writing professionally, by the time he was through I felt like a grade school kid being berated for poor conduct.
So, as I sit here and lick my wounds, evaluating whether his comments have merit or not, I have to weigh the fact that this man wouldn’t fit my most wanted poster. I’m always interested in improving my craft, but sometimes people criticize strictly to criticize. Perhaps a few more spoonfuls of Haagen Daaz will help. The fact that one of my friends shared that this same man slammed him, because the friend didn’t take his advice, then went on to leave ugly comments on his blog made me feel that perhaps it isn’t me, it’s this man.
Perhaps I won’t throw in the towel just yet.
Write On my friends, write on!