Could only five minor adjustments make or break your writing career? Synova thinks so. Here are five things you can implement today to help you succeed. This is part two of a five-part series.
#2 Target Audience
Last week we talked about the question of “Who do I write for?” This week we are going to focus on the subject of finding your target audience. In this technological age, there’s an ocean of content floating around the internet. You can literally find an article on everything from toenail polish to astrophysics. If you don’t have a target audience in mind, then your content (books, blogs, etc.) will get swept away in the ocean of information.
How do you avoid getting lost in the shuffle?
The last thing you want to do is work on an excellent article and have no one read it. Picture this; you’ve spent possibly years writing a book only to find no one reads it. It’s heartbreaking and can have a devastating effect on your career.
I found myself ready to give up several years ago. I had written what I thought was a best selling novel only to find I didn’t have any viewership. No one bought the book, and I got such a horrible contract with the publishing house that I was ready to forget writing completely.
Honestly, I would have quit writing if I hadn’t already signed a contract with an ex-gangster.
Yes, you read that right. I was the president of a local writers group and had just gotten my first book published. I stepped away from the group to focus on my marketing and couldn’t wait to travel on my worldwide book tour. It never happened. The contract I received was so horrible. I lost money trying to sell my book.
While I was with the writers’ group, an ex-gangster from Chicago approached one of the members wanting her to write his biography. She didn’t have the time to devote to such a massive project, so she sent him to me. This happened a few months before my first book was published. I eventually agreed to take on the project and signed a contract with him. Little did I know that little piece of paper was all that would keep me from giving up on my dreams.
It took me five years to get his book written. In the meantime, I had another child, a house fire, and moved twice. But, I also had about given up. Other than researching his past, I didn’t write anything. I hated even working on it because it depressed me.
Although it was a dark time, I determined to study and find a better way when my next book was published. By the time Unorganized Crime was released, I had completely rebranded, found my target audience, and my business has taken off ever since. Sure there’s been bumps in the road, but I know I can find a way to achieve my goals.
Well, I had found my purpose, and I found my target audience. My target audience for true crime stories is split into different segments. First, there are true crime fans who like to read, watch, and listen to anything to do with true crime stories. My second segment is law enforcement. Current officers, retired officers, and even those college-age kids going for a criminal justice degree tend to love to read true crime stories. The last segment is where I found a deeper purpose.
While I had my purpose in mind when marketing my first true crime book, I was still getting my feet wet in the area of business. I started blogging to generate content for true crime fans but didn’t have a good idea of what to write. That’s when I found a more profound purpose. I started targeting the family members of the victims. I wanted to hear their stories and share them with the world. This was when I became a victims advocate with Missouri Missing.
Now, I had a profound purpose for my writing beyond entertainment. I was giving a voice to the victims that had been forgotten by traditional media.
So, how does all of this relate to your business?
Finding your purpose is first and foremost, and second is finding the perfect audience for your writing. I don’t try to market my true crime books to an audience of theologians. I don’t try to sell my books to teenagers into sci-fi and fantasy. I found a specific group of people that like my content, and I market ONLY to them.
Who likes to read your books? Don’t say your mom! Besides her, who would enjoy your content? Think about that and do a little research on your specific genre. Find a successful author in your field and model them. Watch their websites and see what type of people they target. Build an image of your perfect reader and then find them.
Laser focus on your perfect client and watch where they hang out. No, I’m not saying you need to stalk people. Watch where your target audience hangs out online. Is your perfect reader hanging out on Instagram or Facebook? Are there conventions for your genre? If so, go!
Goodreads is an excellent tool to find out where your target audience hangs out. Use this as a research tool, and you’ll find it helps you in various aspects of your business. Don’t get on there and start spamming people about your books! Instead, get on there and see what everyone is talking about. You don’t want to write an entire series on mermaids if the going trend in your genre is about vampires.
This week I want you to figure out who is your target audience and then find out where they go online.
This post is part of a blog series designed to help you with the business side of writing. If you missed Part 1 you can find it here:PART ONE
Look for PART 3 next week.
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