3 S.R. Johannes: Marvelous Marketing: Identifying Your Target Audiences

Monday, March 07, 2011

Marvelous Marketing: Identifying Your Target Audiences

The winner of The Liar Society giveaway is Lori Lee (email me your address at sjohannes@bilaninc.com)

The real lie was that "I wear colored contacts". I do not - that is my real eye color. Though, I get asked that a lot.

I do dye my hair a little darker/richer than it really is (can you say mousy brown? not that I have any gray or anything.....) and the weight on my DL is actually correct! (believe it or not! Just don't ask me what it is!:)

We are finally back to Marketing Mondays which will include interviews, tips, and other resources on marketing yourself and your books.

Today is on the topic of identifying the segments or target audiences for your book so you can hone your marketing better.

When people come to me for marketing consultation or to do web sites or to create swag - most authors or writers cannot list for me the target audiences for their book. I find most of us think are targets are: teens, librarians, schools, and bookstores.

They are... but there is so much more to it than that.

As you begin your marketing plan/strategy, it is important to segment out all your audiences into smaller chunks. You cannot target a billion teens, a katrillion schools, and a million librarians.

Here is something you can do now before you are agented and published - identify the target audiences for your books.

1) Write down all the topics your book covers.

(For example - a teen knitting mystery set in an Alabama summer camp would probably have: knitting, mystery, and Alabama to start with)

2) Identify the audiences interested in the topics.

(For example - just off the top of my head, I would divide the teen market into the following segments: those who like knitting, those who are crafty/like doing crafts, those who love mystery, Alabama teens, teens in the south, teen camp counselors etc)

3) For each audience, identify the top 3-5 ways to reach them.

(For example - lets take knitting - Google knitting magazines, craft magazines, knitting/sewing clubs, etc)

4) Keep a record of everything (I prefer excel myself) and start documenting all the information for future: contact name, address, phone, web site address, type of channel (magazine, club, ezine etc)

That is how you start thinking through the main targets of your book so you can be prepared when it comes time for your book to come out.

What questions do you have? Do you find it hard to drill down and identify your target audience for you book? Can you identify 3 groups?


Gail said...

Great marketing tips Shelli. Would it be necessary to ever include a brief summary of this in a query to an agent or editor?

Janet Johnson said...

These are great tips!

And I think I guess eye color as the lie (though I can't remember . . .) :)

alexia said...

This is great, thanks!

Charmaine Clancy said...

Planning my website, so this is awesome, THANKS. Wondering, if the author has books with varying audience interest or on differnt topics, should they look for the common denominator in their books or have seperate sections for different agegroups and interests on their site?
Thanks again for these great tips.

Anonymous said...

Ooh, just what I needed. Thanks, Shelli!

Kelly Polark said...

I am trying to lose 8 lbs in 9 weeks to finally be the weight on my driver's license again! :)
Excellent marketing tips as usual, Shelli! Thanks!

Stina said...

Great tips. I always laugh when I see someone refer to her novel as being for a MG and YA audience. Yep, that narrows it down. ;)

Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

Wonderful tips! This post is tucking into my favorites marketing folder.

Unknown said...

Excellent advice.

Shari said...

Excellent thoughts. It's going in my marketing folder. Thanks!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips to think about. Can you sometime do a post about swag? Except for bookmarks, why do authors need them and do people/bloggers really want them? Personally, I'd rather spend the money on more books for giveaways. But am I missing something?

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Really great tips, Shelli! I remember telling my writing students how important it was to be able to identify their target audience. Always, they would say, well, you are, and it frustrated me to no end. I would tell them, yes, I'm going to read it, but if you were selling this, who might want to buy this?

Vicky Alvear Shecter said...

Very helpful, Shelli! thank you