Everyone going into business should do market research. Authors are no different and should be sure to devote time to building a reader profile. Knowing your reader will help you decide what strategies are best for you to use as you market your book.
While it may sound technical, this step is critical to your success as an author. The reality is that your book is not for everyone. Nor is it for “all women with hopes and dreams.”
You have to be realistic. Inspiration and visions are important, but if what you want to do is sell books, then you cannot afford to skip reader profiles. They will show you how to find the right people, and through which channels.
Here are some of the key primary benefits of creating reader profiles.
People are complex.
Your potential buyers have limited free time, just like you.
What’s more, they know what they like. Most people don’t venture outside of their preferred genres. And especially if you write in a cluttered genre with lots of sub-genres, you need to bring you’re A-Game.
Reading is personal, which means that book discovery must also be personal.
When you take the time to develop a solid reader profile, you are better positioned to personalize the experience for your target market. It’s important if you want to stand out from the 4,500+ other books being published every single day.
You want to know where to promote your book.
I always say that you don’t have to be everywhere, you just have to be everywhere that matters.
Reader profiles will come in handy if you don’t know which social media platforms you should be on or if you’re even reaching the right people.
With a little research, you can find demographics for just about any social media, news media, or anywhere else that caters to consumers and brands.
Once you’ve developed your reader profile, you can cross-reference it with demographics to see where you should really bother spending your time, and where you can stop.
Learn from your competition.
With a reader profile, you can also find out what seems to be working for successful authors in your genre.
Success leaves clues. I say this a lot because it’s true.
So if you start tracking the book promotion and branding activities of other authors who are already selling books to your target market, you’ll pick up a lot of solid techniques that you know resonate with the right people.
Find out what makes your book unique.
Putting the time in on building reader profiles will also push you to examine your own work.
If you want to step up your book sales, you have to get better at convincing potential buyers that you have something special to offer them.
Non-fiction authors, this usually means your book itself has to have a unique take and perspective on your topic.
However, this isn’t so simple for genre fiction authors to find unique aspects of their story line. After all, readers often choose books because they pretty much know what to expect. As a result, if you’re writing fiction and struggling to find ways to stand out, look more toward your brand and your online persona to carry that weight.
Great reader profiles also help you brainstorm ways you can be different, not just your books.
Fine-tune your platform.
Reader profiles also offer you an avenue to fine-tune your author platform.
It’s kind of like getting a sneak peek into an event. You can find out who’s going to show up to a party, which gives you a leg up on what you need to do to wow the crowd.
And you can take it to the next level, too, since reader profiles offer more than insights into what you post on social media. In addition, you can use this valuable information to optimize your Amazon presence, your website, and certainly future book releases.
Let’s get to work.
And of course, since you are now ready to spend some time building out your reader profile, I’m making it easy on you with this version that can be used whether you write fiction or non-fiction.
While it’s not critical that you fill out every single section in order to better understand your reader, the further you get, you’ll have a stronger feel for where you stand in relation to your competition and your target market. Ultimately, this will help you to get ahead of the curve, instead of feeling like you are constantly racing to catch up.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.