As writers we play the infinitely difficult Where’s Wally of reader spotting. But locating those pesky readers is more tortuous than tweezing your granddads nasal hair, and yet, it is THE most important thing we do.
As I draw nearer to handing my book to beta readers, the prospect of completing it, having to press publish and my labour of love subsequently disappearing into the utterly saturated Amazon rainforest of books, never to be seen again, is becoming frighteningly real.
In an attempt to prevent the only people buying my book being mumsy and wifeypoos, I read 3 marketing books last month:
Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book
Nick Stephenson’s Supercharge Your Kindle Sales
And Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies
The whole point of my blog is to share what I learn on this sanity testing journey to authordom and what did I learn? Well, I’m resolute on the fact finding your readers will always be the holy grail of authorlyness and because it’s the holy grail, not all of us will find it. BUT, I also learnt a whole heap of other neat tricks to help us along the way, as well as finding an answer to the 64 bergillion dollar question, should an author blog…?
I learnt a shit ton of stuff, so I’ve split this post into two.
So here are 9 ways to help you find your audience, this week I bring you way one to five.
WAY ONE – DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE
There’s nothing like specificity when you’re trying to achieve something and defining your audience is THE number one rule, I actually learnt that from beta reading Bloggers Bash attendee Cynthia’s super helpful book: Write Your Marketing Strategy.
Before you try and con yourself with the ol’ ‘I don’t write in a genre’ adage, just remember what you’re trying to do… sell books. Not having a genre is fine, as long as you can define your audience, and don’t kid yourself, your audience, ain’t ‘everyone’. If you don’t know who your audience is and you’ve finished your book, shame yourself with a bout of rhythmic slapping until you rid yourself of bullshit and then start frantically researching other books like yours until you find the answer.
Once you have the answer, define them, and by that I mean ask yourself questions like:
- How old are your target audience?
- What hobbies or interests might they have?
- Are they employed?
- What social media do they use?
- What else might they read either in your genre or outside of it?
Even knowing the answer to some of these questions makes it easier for you to target your readers. Knowing the answers means you can both tailor your marketing to their needs and wants and target said marketing in the right places.
WAY TWO – THE MEANINGFUL LOVE FEST
The mantra the experts are touting (and they really are touting it, the phrase seems to have been coined in some kind of new wave brain washing literary love fest) is to make ‘real’ meaningful connections with people. Apparently, that stops the car salesman feeling when you drop the equivalent of a author C-bomb by emailing your subscribers and possibly, maybe, gently pointing out the fact your latest book is published.
Their ethos is – if you’re providing quality material, being super helpful and someone signed up to your list, then they do want to hear from you. So stop beating yourself up with greasy car salesmen, no body likes them, someone’s got to sell cars and frankly that fetish is just weird.
I’m not sure any of the books actually defined what meaningful connections were, but if I were to scratch my noggin I’d say it’s connecting with people in a way that provides them with something they want or need, thereby making them want to come back to you again. #WinWin. You get a reader and they get what they want.
WAY THREE – STRATERGASM YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
The point about defining your readers is you then know where to look for them.
I write YA fiction. Authors are told to use social media to connect with readers. Use it. USE IT ALL they said, but unless you’re a 16 legged 8 brained octopus with major skills in multitasking, then you can’t possibly use every social media platform effectively.
I’ve been using Facebook and Twitter to connect with people, but my school girl error is not recognising where YA’s hang out.
Twitter and Facebook are so last season, they make Yo-Yos, Nintendos and Pokemon look fashionable (wait one, Pokemon are fashionable again…), anyway you know what I mean.
If you wana get down wit’ da kids, it’s all about Instagram and Snapchat. So if I wanted to connect with YA readers I’d be better off focusing on those social media outlets than anywhere else.
Pinterests primary audience is women aged 25 to 34, but both the age categories either side of that one also have high usage of Pinterest. So if your target audience is women starting there is a good place.
If your target audience isn’t on Twitter then hammering the hashtags isn’t guna do shit for your sales numbers. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but one you need to if you’re serious about selling books.
What’s the takeaway here? Target, target, target.
Target like it’s your wanker-bosses soft spot and you’re going in for the kill and never waste time on crap that isn’t going to help you reach your goal.
WAY FOUR – FAN GIRL THE SHIT OUT OF YOURSELF
This one was from Tim Grahl. I highlighted the following quote in big neon yellow.
I’ve been told a number of times in life (#MostlyAtWork) that my passion and enthusiasm comes across as aggression. Frankly anyone that thinks that can take a running jump off the go-fuck-yourself-cliff. Too much?
Tim said this:
“Enthusiasm sells. Let it out.” Tim Grahl, p.124 of Your First 1000 Copies.
FUCK YEAH. I felt like doing a rocky punch in the air at the top of the steps.
Tim explains, and I’m using my own words here: we need to fangirl ourselves. Cause like, duh… If we’re not buzzing our tits off over our own books, why in the shiz would anyone else give a flying eff?
Why be enthusiastic?
Because enthusiasm is just as virulent as the self-doubt plague. It’s infectious and rubs off on others.
What does that mean? It means talking about your book. And I know. I know, *gently rubs calming oil into your writerly hands* talking about your book is scary and ‘sleazy salesman’ but you know, it’s not really. Not if your enthusiastic about it, and you believe it’s going to help someone or brighten their day.
WAY FIVE – ADVERTIZLING
Hate to say it, but reaching audiences for free these days is becoming rarer than Dodo spotting safaris.
Facebook has been dropping its conversion rates for years. Facebook page posts appear in hardly any feeds these days because they cottoned on to advertising.
The same can be said for Instagram and Pinterest. As much as it pains me, I’m fairly sure I’ll have to invest if I want to get any traction in book sales.
The one good way to advertise for free (at the moment) is through Facebook videos. Facebook are competing to be THE biggest platform for video delivery – in other words they are trying to take over YouTube. As a result, Facebook is allowing any video posted directly through Facebook to appear in a significantly higher portion of newsfeeds.
Thoughts? How do you find your readers? What cool tricks do you have up your sleeves? Let me know in the comments.
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