by Tim Kane
You need to think long and hard about exactly who you expect to plunk down some greenbacks and purchase your novel. And don’t say my work is for everyone. It’s not. Even Stephen King and J. K. Rowling have a distinct audience. Heck, Oprah has a a large, but definable demographic. No one person, or writing style, appeals to everyone everywhere.
That leaves a dilemma that most writer’s aren’t willing to tackle. Mostly because of the argument that it will compromise the purity of their work. Balderdash. Write whatever you want. Just don’t claim that everyone wants to read it. In other words, don’t worry about your audience until you have something to sell.
See? Artistically, no compromise.
Now listen, the reason Andy Warhol was able to sell so many paintings wasn’t his talent at painting. Far from it. He simply knew how to market his work to his target audience. Once he found his niche, he mined it excessively.
Who, exactly, will purchase your book? Run through the plot points. Are they similar to any other books? Think about your central characters. Who would they appeal to? If you can match your book up to other novels (or even films) you’re on the right track. Then you can research those demographics.
“Why bother,” you ask. “I’ll simply publish it, and then readers will find it.” This ain’t Field of Dreams. You can’t just write it and they will read. Then you might say, “That’s the publisher’s job.” Nope. Most publishers put so little effort and money into marketing, it’s laughable. The authors they do market are so popular that they hardly need marketing.
Even with loads of cash, how should you market? That’s the key question. Just buying billboard space next to a freeway won’t guarantee sales. You’d be lucky to get even a few. Why? You have no guarantee that your target audience will view it.
Here’s an example. The target reader for my recent book is a teen girl who loves supernatural, macabre, and the quirky. It’s aligned to pretty much any Tim Burton movie. With that in mind, I’d want to advertise in places where these types of readers might see my ad. Additionally, I should blog on topics that would attract my readership. Everything needs to be focused on drawing these sorts of readers in and letting them discover my book.
Marketing is not an easy task, but it all starts with figuring out your reader.