So you wrote a book...What the Hell do you do next? Issue #3 Finding Your Audience #selfpublishing #hacks
Hack #2 - Finding Your Audience
You've nailed your Pitch, you've been practicing it in the mirror, you've written down twenty versions of it. You may have caught the interest of a few people, but it is time for you to shift your focus to finding your audience. Friends, family, and your social circles are a great launching point for your first book but you need to find the readers that are going to buy your work based on your writing chops. Your goal is to get your book in front of the readers that will buy your future work just because your name is on the cover.
That's ridiculous! I'm not James Patterson...
How can I expect you to believe in this? There is no reason to write if your goal isn't to get your work in front of as many people as you can. You have to set your goals high if you are ever going to achieve even a modicum of success. Some of you might say you don't write for success, but that is a a bold faced lie. We all want to be recognized for our work. Writing isn't for the faint of heart, and if you are truly serious about your craft you need to develop more than thick skin, you need to understand why you are telling stories.
Why? Because this is how you FIND YOUR AUDIENCE
This is probably the most difficult process to master. If I am honest I myself have not mastered it, few have. Luckily, those few that have found pathways to their audiences have left the breadcrumbs for those of us just starting out to follow. We just need to know where to look to find the map that takes us to the X. Underneath the X is the buried treasure, the fabled audience.
Before you grow your audience, you need to find it...
So how do we go about finding them? There are numerous ways we can track them down and I hope to cover all the bases. This is a complicated topic, it will move fast so hang with me. If you stick with the process and apply a healthy amount of patience you will begin to find the most elusive readers for indie and self published authors, return readers
#Hack #1 - Start with YOU!
Seems obvious right? But nine out of ten authors miss this crucial step. The key here is recognizing your audience and that starts with getting the low down on who they are. Your number one fan is you, because you are invested in your success, after all you wouldn't have spent the time writing a ninety thousand word novel, or if you're insane like me you wrote more.
You're invested...You need to find people willing to invest their time in your work
So who are you?
You wrote the book, and you are willing to put it out there so you believe in it. Perhaps others like you will. It's as simple as that. So boil it down. Who are you? Figure your demographic and begin to apply this to the rest of your strategy moving forward.
Example: For Nemeton: The Trial of Calas I produced this demographic.
From this you can start to dial in to your first potential reader.
These key metrics are going to help you find the first type of reader that you target. In the world of online marketing you need to be thorough. Keep a journal or spreadsheet where you jot down who your audience is. This will be your first customer model. So let's go over the details.
You've got your first reader...
You've identified a reader now you need to go put your book in front of them. Your Pitch is ready so what do you do now? I'll tell you what most authors do, what even I did before I learned the deep magic of online traffic, they spam their book everywhere. They post links, ugly pictures, and discombobulated wishes to try and entice the reader. Their posts are disorganized and find the eyes of the people who will most likely never read their book.
They've broken the first rule of sales...
STOP! WAIT! THINK!
I know you are excited! You've just written the next Harry Potter and the whole world is going to love it. Pump the brakes. This is the time where you need to research the most. So its time to learn the rules of engagement.
The indie author and self-publishing community is a helpful bunch, but they are just like you, out for #1. That is not a barb I am throwing it is the truth, ask any one of them. Would they like to sell your book first or theirs?
It's common sense folks.
There are countless authors, countless books, and countless social media groups where you can build your brand, but you cannot do that if you spoil your brand's name right away. Recall the quote I dropped at the beginning.
Build a lifestyle around your brand, and the audience will follow...
We've taken a look at finding out who your primary buyer is, but there is much more work to be done, more readers to entice. The next step is research, not promotion. If you race off to promote your book before you find your target audiences you will undoubtedly fall flat on your face. How do I know? I've done it. I've invested hundreds of hours shooting blindly, stumbling in the dark. If I had only known what I know now. I might have had quite a few more readers. So here is the lesson I learned.
YOU ARE NOT YOUR BOOK! SO DON'T MARKET THAT WAY!
You are an author...
You want to make money as an author, if you don't then there was no reason for you jump into this racket. Just give away your writing for free, but if I was right, and you want to be an author then you need to start behaving like one.
Your Journey to Finding Your Audience has just begun...
This topic is far from complete. In the next issue I will go over how to leverage promoting other authors to build your brand, tackle social media like a boss, understand ads and keywords, and engage your audience in a way that makes YOU irresistible.
Christopher Lee is the indie author of Nemeton, an avid history buff, mythologist, bardic poet, and keeper of the old ways.