“Who is your audience?” “Who is your audience?” “Who is your audience?” After what is your book about, who is your audience is the most asked question. And it is asked from the very beginning. It means, who you are writing your book for. It’s not a small question. Who the book is for determines how it is written: vocabulary, tone, asides, and point of view among other aspects. Knowing your audience means selling it in the right place to optimize sales. Do I have a niche market – small, but targeted – or a larger audience like romance novels. The book is placed on the shelf where the most appropriate audience will find it.
Like many authors I believed that everyone would want to read my book; after all, my friends did. Oops, that’s a niche market and each friend will only be able to buy so many copies.
hSo who was it written for?
- My students who have given up on democracy and voting
- People who read history
- People who read about civil rights
- Black Americans
- Women between thirty-five and fifty, who buy the most books
- Baby Boomers
- People who read memoirs
- Young adults; their book market is the one currently growing the most
- Teachers and administrators of public high schools and colleges
How do “you,” meaning me, decide?
- Go to a bookstore and determine which books would be perfect shelf mates.
- Go on line and determined in what categories similar books are arranged.
- Ask writing and selling professionals
- I used to think the book belonged in the civil rights section. When I started writing that section was huge. Now it is about two shelves.
- I looked at the young adults section. Vampires and spirits. I know my students enjoy the book, but somehow I don’t see Martin Luther King with vampires.
- History sections have shrunk, too, regardless of ethnicity.
Get the point?
Oh, and toss in that my book is non-fiction, true, real. Most of the workshops I’ve taken in selling non-fiction books turn out to be how to sell self-help books.
After almost six years, I still don’t know what the audience is. I’m selling the book on my web page where it is on its own shelf. (Because it is the only one there.) Now a search begins for how to get it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders websites. Money will determine how far I go here.