This is a curious question, are you your ideal reader? The answer is you might have been when you started the journey that led to the story you want to share and the book you want to write, but you probably aren’t anymore. The simple truth is you will have grown and changed and as you write the book you will change again. One thing is for certain is that writing heals.
Your ideal reader will have questions that you had. They will also have other questions that you might not have thought about, but which you got when you researched how to heal yourself.
The first step in this process is to go back to the start and ask what was happening, what was the trigger that woke you up and made you aware that you needed to heal?
If you are anything like me you will have explored many avenues until you found a way that worked for you. One of the things that you need to consider is how you simplify the process that you have learned from living your story.
Not only do you need to consider where to start your story, but also to not cram too much into it, as well as writing at the right level for your reader.
This blog post from contently.com makes interesting reading. ‘We shouldn’t discount simple writing, but instead, embrace it.’
As subject matter experts we also tend (or at least I do) to assume that our reader needs to know as much as we do. They don’t. What they need is to be guided gently from being woken up to a place of clarity and another and on to an outcome (akin to a milestone in a project).
You can always write another book, write a workbook or create a course if there is more that you want to share.
Your ideal reader then is someone who does not know as much as you now do.
One thing that I notice is that my journal becomes invaluable to the reality of who I was rather than what my mind and ego want me to think. I often surprise myself with how my filters change events and timings. A journal by your side as you write is a great leveller.
Your journal also tells you the truth of you as your ideal reader at the start of this incredible journey.
How do you and your ideal reader buy books?
I’d also look at why you buy books and how you buy them. Beyond the why and how, what about how you consume (read) them. How do they call to you?
I tend to buy non-fiction as books to use for inner reflection and as a guide for reflective practice and journaling. In other words, I buy based on questions I have at that time and I am guessing so do you? I also buy books on a whim or via recommendation and I read several at the same time. I like books that take me on a process – do this and then do this. I am an activist and then a reflector.
Does my ideal reader do this?
Possibly as I tend to write books that take my readers through a process. If you are curious about your reader’s habits do a survey. Surveys if you can get people to fill them in are a great way to find out interesting information about your ideal reader.
When you write for a reader you are writing to one person so that you become ONE and are communicating heart to heart and soul to soul.
What books were you reading back then and how connected to them did you feel?
What does your ideal reader have in common with the old you?
People like people like us and your ideal reader might be like you to a certain extent. They may share behaviours, values, a common dis-ease, age, gender and a whole lot of other data. However, they are typically back at the unconscious incompetence stage of their journey – they don’t know what they don’t know.
Four stages of the conscious competence model
I believe how we form our decisions and make choices is progressive. You can use this model to consider the flow of your story through the stages of your life and what you learned at each stage.
- Unconscious Incompetence – You don’t know what you don’t know.
- Conscious Incompetence – You know you don’t know. This is a fantastic learning stage.
- Conscious Competence – You know that you know, you’re just not entirely clear on how.
- Unconscious Competence – You can do what you are doing with your eyes closed. At this stage, you will have gathered immense knowledge, skills and experience.
Take each of these stages and be curious about your unfolding conscious journey and story. It will be fascinating to see what you learn.
Begin with yourself and then work forwards through your story. Explore demographics, how you buy and consume books, what questions you were asking and be curious.
Have you set the criteria for your ideal reader?
When I worked for a manufacturing company we had a client suitability matrix that scored each prospect on a set of five criteria. We looked at, for example, the markets they operated in because our products were designed to meet the needs of that market, then there were things like their ability to pay because the cost of setting up production lines and forward buying raw materials was expensive.
It was very precise and based on many years of experience. We had to reduce our financial risk and ensure we hit profit targets.
Our ideal customer scored a number in this matrix and I tailored my marketing towards companies that we believed fit our ideal. We were rarely wrong and often walked about from a poor risk customer.
So what has this got to do with your ideal reader?
Do you have a set of criteria? A wish list or a person in your mind’s eye?
The criteria approach above suited that company, but it, as it stands, is perhaps too clinical for your story – but it might not.
Your story might be about healing osteoporosis and that does have a set of criteria, or it could be a journey of self-love which is often steeped in trauma and abuse and is a lot more emotional.
What do you know about them? What do they want? What are they feeling?
You need some way of creating a set of criteria (factual or emotional) to work from, and it helps to start with you and the questions you were having. And try the unconscious competence model above to guide you.
Ideal reader demographics
If demographics work for you, here’s a reminder of them. Consider if this helps you to find your ideal reader.
Demographic and Geographic location – These affect the size of the market and the reader’s needs, desires, and usage
- Demographic – E.g. age, sex, income, education, the size of household, homeownership, etc.
- Geographic – Where they are located, both physical and virtual
Behavioural needs, attitudes, and buying patterns – These affect the product and promotion variables
- Behavioural – The processes your reader uses to select, buy, use, and dispose of your books. Or how they think, feel, reason, and choose between different books and authors
Psychological – Urgency of needs satisfaction. These affect the place and price variables
- Psychological – This gives us insight into who is most likely motivated to buy. We are looking for psychological attitudes such as aspirations, interests, attitudes, opinions, lifestyle, etc. These factors enable us to identify similar groups of people. E.g., businessmen and women aged 35 – 55. After which we will look at defining which groups of people to target. E.g. Female entrepreneurs 45+
What do you learn about yourself and your ideal reader when you start with you? What are the gaps and what does that tell you about the story you want to share and the book that you are planning to write?
Draw you as your ideal reader
Last but not least, draw a picture of yourself as your ideal reader, add in all of the attributes you discover and keep it where you can see it. After a few days start to think about your ideal reader and explore what else you may want to add, or delete.
I wonder what you will discover?
If writing a book is on your do now list…
- Share your story in one chapter of The Healing Book Project
- 121 Mentoring Packages available for 3 or 6 months
- You can grab a copy of my book Plan your non-fiction book in a weekend on Amazon