How do you compete with all of the other nonfiction writers in your genre to make sure your ideal reader, buys and reads your book? It’s possibly a question that you have mulled over, but not thought much about before you start to write your book.
If you carefully define your ideal reader before you start to write, you will have a better book and chances are you will be hanging out with them and demonstrating that you are the right person to be writing this book as you write. Marketing your book starts before you even start to write it.
This weekend I have been staying with my mum. Her TV habits are very different to mine, I’m a NetFlix chica and after that, I have ‘stuff’ on in the background, for the dogs, as I write. I normally like silence to write in, but in the evenings I like to feel like I have company. Ok don’t judge me, I am a slave to the furry ones and if they want TV on…
Mum wanted to watch a film with Melissa McCarthy in. As luck would have it she stumbled across one just starting. Identity Thief was very silly and quite touching, I’ll admit to thoroughly enjoying it and laughing loads – just what the doctor ordered. We were the perfect audience for this film.
As it was a commercial station we had to endure the ad breaks. I was tantalised by adverts for vaginal pessaries, a lube to create awesome orgasms, and aftershave with a sexy man which mum drooled over. There were others and all with sex as the vibe. I can’t say that I normally notice adverts but these stuck out and got me thinking more about ideal readers and how to define one.
It could have been an anomaly and mum at 80 and I single (for the moment) were not the intended audience for these advertising slots. But someone somewhere sat down with the viewing figures and decided that at this time of the evening women over 55 who needed a little oomph in their lives would be watching a funny movie.
One of the ways that TV advertisers will work out who their perfect audience (your ideal reader), is through data analysis.
Yeah ok, mop that fevered brow finding your ideal reader through data analysis is that that bad – really!!!
A question for you – how well you know the ideal reader for your book. People buy books because of some sort of outcome, solution or result that it gives them. Go grab a journal and write what comes up for you. Then ask, is that really your ideal reader?
Who is your ideal reader?
How well do you know the wants and needs of your ideal reader? When you write you are looking to connect to one reader. A single reader. Why?
- Much easier to write because we are speaking to that person
- It will make a better book, one which creates a connection
- It is more likely to be read and enjoyed. If we write for one reader he/she will implement what we are teaching, will hear or enjoy what we have to say.
- When you adjust your voice to your reader, it becomes just as if you were talking face to face
- It is more likely to sell. There is a place for a book as a personal journey for ourselves, but the reality is that most of us want our books to sell and to be read
It may not seem like a ‘nice’ idea to see your reader as a self-centred creature only out for what they can get, but the reality is that our reader wants to know WIIFM – what’s in it for me? Unless it is a present for someone else, they are not going to buy your book on “better health for menopausal women” if they are a young twenty-something. Menopause is far away and is what their granny has.
Although I have to say I wish I had never laughed at my mum as she hot flushed her way through ‘those’ year.
It is easier to write and sell books when you know who they are for.
For clarity, a target market is made up of buyers and readers:-
- Buyers – people we attract to buy (these will be the reader and anyone who buys for others)
- Readers – these are the ones we want to connect to and communicate with emotionally
- Readers and buyers = your audience
Knowing who your buyers and readers are, where they hang out and why you are writing for them, will also help you clarify what to write about
What does the data say about your ideal reader?
You may have heard the term market segmentation?
The objective of segmentation is to identify unique markets with similar attributes and then find segments that are profitable. Common market segment dimensions: –
Demographic and Geographic location – These affect the size of the market and 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+
Take each of these areas and start to try and identify who your ideal reader might be.
Invest in identifying your ideal reader
How committed are you to act on the information that you uncover? Will you amend your outline, chapter content, the outcome for your book or even the title of the book? What about the marketing messages? If you are not prepared to undertake this work and there is no plan to take advantage of this research, then don’t look at segmentation.
However, if you do undertake market segmentation, you will have a much better book.
When I started writing Healing Osteoporosis Naturally it was a healing book for me. I needed to write to heal, but when I decided to segment the market properly the nature of the book changed. It has (in my mind) a clearly defined place on the osteoporosis bookshelf.
My book is for the postmenopausal women, who have been newly diagnosed, is in fear and needs a map to heal herself and good resources.
Create your action plan for your ideal reader
Once you have defined who your ideal reader is by undertaking a market segmentation review, create a plan for writing and marketing. Test your theories by blogging your book. You will get valuable feedback on your content and you will be able to review your book plan before you start to write or at least early on.
What is driving your decision?
This is an interesting question. Are you trying to make your content fit an ideal profile reader for a particular reason? Sometimes it becomes rather overwhelming to have to think about things like segmentation when all you want to do is write and help others.
Step back from your emotional connection to the content, undertake your segmentation, reflect on it. It does not have to be perfect, just perfect for now. You will probably find as you write that it will become clearer.
Recalibrate your ideal reader often
Things change. Markets change. People’s desires and wants – yes they change too. As you write and undertake further research you will find yourself going off on tangents. Check to make sure they are relevant and if so refine your ideal profile reader.
You will find that when you hang out where your ideal readers are they will ask questions that you may never have considered. If lots of people are asking the same question it’s got to be worth a review – right?
What to do next?
Grab a big sheet of paper and some coloured pens and draw your ideal reader with the four segments that we have discussed. Leave a space and write questions my ideal reader asks. Keep mind mapping and musing.
Things to try
- Try segmenting around problems and questions
- Shrink the market and then expand it – which offers you the greatest benefits?
- Do a not perfect ideal reader profile – what does that tell you?
If writing a book is on your do now list…
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- Strategy and Intuitive Guidance Coaching Session – 45 minutes – £99 (book)
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