This post is reproduced verbatim from the Kindle Direct Publishing Forum, February 12, with permission from the author.
How do you identify and market to your: "Target Audience and Book Buyers?"
I am about to get real busy. And thought it prudent to get this done now.
My covers have arrived for my next four releases, and they are all in the 70%-90% range of completion in content and must be finished to hit my release deadline.
In addition, I have a script, of which they want to add another beginning to it.
So, take this and apply it, or don’t. What I propose works. It does however take hard work, some research and door finding. I am providing the keys to those doors.
I can honestly say that if you follow the proven methods, and your work is notable and well prepared, these offerings shall help to launch you where few get to go, with those in the know, which already know.
I could most probably package the following as a manual, or mini-guide.
However, I gave my word to help out here, and with this and all of my contributions here, I hope that I have fulfilled that promise.
Preface: The greatest problem in self-publishing is the overall misguided assumptions, and the vast unrealistic “expectations” is the fact that a “majority” percentage (75%) believe that they can be successful without spending money, and investing in themselves, their work, and/or publishing projects.
FREE, FREE, FREE! How do I do it for free? Quit it, this is the real world.
Forget about it, highly unlikely, and wholly unrealistic.
I have never been involved in any business venture, where at least some capital investment is required to “establish” itself in the marketplace which it or they intend to do business.
That notion of doing your own covers, using everything that is “Free” to promote your books, is ridiculous beyond every logical business model. So wake up, publishing is a business, a relentlessly competitive, cut throat business.
They are not secrets, special formulas, unproven conjecture nor speculation. They are proven marketing practices, which are applied daily, day after day.
The subjects we will cover in this article are as follows:
What is proven to work in marketing and what has not worked regarding self-publishing?
Understanding the media, and how you can be affective within it.
The keys to exposure and how to get it without it costing a fortune
Identifying your audience, and how to establish a following that is already there
We will start with the last of the categories and work our way through, grab a beverage.
The first thing an author should do or have done, is to read, read, read, in the genre in which they are, or planning to write their book about.
Understanding your market is understanding exactly where your potential reader / buyers are, and why they are there.
And is an absolute requirement for a chance at success.
Note: I mean to say, read now, before you start this regimen. I can hear it now all over the board, “I don’t need to read, I know what I am doing.”
How is that working out for ya?
That be the case, stop now, go on doing what you were doing, this is not going to help you, or anyone who believes that they have it all figured out. So just go, forget about what I have to say.
Those not willing to research and do diligence, will fail, and fail quickly. Or die a slow publishing death. You are most likely there presently; otherwise you would not be reading.
The author should read the top five or ten bestselling authors books in that genre, for five reasons:
1) Content: Understanding a top selling author and his work is a vital tool in gaining insight as to what sells, why it sells, and exactly what it is that is being sold. Once you understand that, it can help you to be as effective or greater in your content. And do it naturally as the style and content reviewed, will become an underlying element in your content, within your story as a recollection in boundary, extension, and prose, although in your voice and /or style, naturally.
2) Character development: Understanding the characters in those best sellers are important, they sold the audience, the reader loved them. Understanding why is the key in satisfying the defining market, book readers, and buyers. This will further enable you to sell your titles, and sell many more of them, and at marginally higher prices.
Why, because you just became part of the demand market, that’s why.
Remember, just think about the characters you like, love, enjoy, and respect, all of your characters should be equally or greater than those you recall.
You have the power; you are directing the show. And be they giants or be they mice, make them yours to get your price, and recognition.
3) Storyline: This is vital, and where a new author must have the discipline to separate his preferences, from his audiences demand ratios. This cannot be ignored, as the precedent is already established.
So, it is your job to satisfy that demand in the market which you are targeting. There will be time to do it all your way in the future. However you need an audience base, and a following.
Therefore it is your job to supply that need and demand. It is simple really, just give the readers what they want, your way within the realm of what that market wants to read.
Two books down the road, then you can choose, and then the world is yours, all yours. And you join the ranks of those that you aspire to be. And do so by sharing their audience, and following, while developing your own. That is the discipline and fortitude necessary to earn your way, and your success.
Remember, it is about the reader, not you, and/or your preferences.
Hugely important, and paramount to your books success, as well as yours. This and the cover are the greatest tool that an author / publisher have as his or her secret weapon. The title is the hook, the bait, the draw, the face of the story, and most importantly, your leverage to all things in the definition of success. Forget about artsy-f artsy titles, excite them, inspire curiosity, and make them look, and eventually buy it.
The top sixty-percent of the top bestselling books have three-words or less in their title. That’s right, just three words or less. The remaining twenty-five-percent of those have four words or less, and the remaining fifteen-percent, have five words. Thirteen-percent of those with three words or less titles, have sub-titles.
Your title should have impact, hidden subtlety, and a defined reference to content.
Title and cover are your top most vital decisions in marketing your book, period.
Market recognition is half the battle, gain that and you are half way there.
Just a footnote, all of my titles, are two words or less, all twelve which are published presently, are two-word titles, and the four about to be, are all two-word, or three word titles.
5) Cover: The book cover is the curb appeal, the girl or guy across the room, that Ferrari sitting in two spaces at the mall, or that waxed apple amongst the fruit on the table. Yes your cover is everything; it is your life, your sustenance, the essence of your book. I cannot stress this issue enough; a professional looking cover is an absolute staple in publishing. Your sales usually reflect your cover if you have good edited content. Average cover, average sales, bad or shoddy cover, low or no sales.
A great cover following the cover rules, results in greater overall sales, and greater recognition to the marketplace. Enough said.
Print versions of your books are an integral tool in publishing. We will cover that in part two.
Editing & Proofreading: Editing & Proofreading: Editing & Proofreading: Editing & Proofreading: Editing & Proofreading: Editing & Proofreading: Editing & Proofreading: Editing & Proofreading.
Now, editing and proofreading, have it done by a competent professional. No edit, little or no sales, no proofread, little or no sales.
If you don’t edit, don’t sweat it, plan to fail, and all of your time to be wasted.
If you do not edit, you will regret it, fail and embarrass yourself
Edit-edit-edit, have it proofread, then publish your book, and only then.. Period.
Enough said. By the way, did you get that regarding editing and proofreading? Just checking.
Now that you understand what is needed or required of you, in which to identify your market audience, you are now ready to learn the truth regarding marketing your product, your book, your story or non-fiction instructional piece.
It sounds exciting doesn’t it? Not so fast, breathe you are going to need the air. You have a long way to go, so buck up, get ready to go to work, the fun is over, and the real work begins.
Now that you know partly where your market majority is, what are you going to do about it, are you reading that best-seller in your genre yet?
What is proven to work in marketing and what has not regarding self-publishing?
How to waste your time and energy, and what does not work, and is the greatest of misnomer’s in the self-publishing business:
Social media is good for two things, giving the author a simple presence that add some branding and name recognition, and waste a great deal of your time, better spent what is proposed herein.
After two years of my /our use, research, study, and the examination of those results. Face-Book, Twitter, and My Space, all failed to produce any outside sales whatsoever, not one book, not one series box-set, absolutely zero.
I have challenged countless people, managers, business owners to prove to me that their presence on social media sold anything at all, and not one of the over six-hundred, could prove or validate one thin dime in sales, bupkiss, Nada, zero.
Book giveaway etc. This can be a useful book “launch tool.” If, and I say if the above and aforementioned book structures have been followed to a T, not a part of the above, all of it.
And even then, the sales actual are few in most cases.
However, there are exceptions, it actually worked wonders for one of my books, sales increased, the reviews poured in, eight weeks later, it slowed to a few copies a day, then weeks.
Giving your books away, is a promotional tool, not a practice to be leaned upon.
“Oh please download my book that I have my blood and sweat into and place little or no value on it."
"Please give me the opportunity to have my digital book in your device with the other five-hundred that you will probably read, one day, eventually.
Hard to read actually, isn't it?
I too used to believe in this practice that is until I did the math, and math is an exact science. And the math says that we are robbing ourselves and flooding the market with free content like children leaving the faucet on the hot water. Eventually it turned cold, and none of us get a nice hot shower of sales that actually pay to the bottom line, in our accounts.
Ya know the reason that we are all here, to “make money.”
All of that is nothing more than unnecessary, and pathetic. Ultimately, that practice is killing our business model, and decreasing sales across the marketplace.
Respect yourself, and the industry community in which you are trying to build, just quit it. And establish a value for yourself, and your peer authors. Enough said
The things upcoming are the efforts which I attribute to my sales, not the giveaways, which should be used for “launch” only and / or an occasional refresher annually.
Understanding the media, and how you can be affective within it.
First of all, the following is so simple in understanding, that it is surprising to most all of those I teach, instruct, and / or assist, because the obvious is overlooked. And it is our nature to want things served to us, with instructions.
So, where are your target readers, where are your target buyers, other than reading in their preferred genre’s?
Well, lets see, where could they be?
They are reading of course, duh.
They are reading the news and/or articles, advertisements on their homepages, like AOL, Yahoo, MSN, Comcast, on Google.
They are reading online versions of newspapers, magazines, Reddit, Boombox, Patch, Movie phone, etc, you get the idea.
They are reading at work, they are reading on their devices, tablets, notepads, PC’s, and oh yes, their Kindles, Nooks, I-Phones, I-Pads, and now they are even reading online, on their television sets.
Yes they are readers, which read, and read most all of the time in some way or another.
Who knew, that in this Hip-Hop world that we would evolve to a culture of readers that actually read, why is that?
Cable is in, but by specifics, TV is limited, also viewed in specifics, music has almost gone band-less, all electronic and filtered mix.
The perception of the masses is that it is too costly or too risky to venture out as often as we did in the past, so guess what?
We as a society, read more, not just for the reasons above, but because we all have these nifty and bitchin little devices which we spend a ton of money on, and have fallen in love with. Because it is convenient, efficient, and cool, right?”
I mean people are developing thumb injuries, and illnesses, and phone calls are now rare and deemed as an intrusion, and / or passé.
So the answer is, “that” is where your target audience and future readers are, they are on their various devices, and are reading six-times as much as they were ten-years ago.
Go figure, so how do we get before their eyes, and get their attention?
Ah yes, that is the answer isn't it? How do we get to where they are, where they are reading, where their attention and focus is?
And how in the heck are we, or do we, become part of that focus?
PART-TWO TO FOLLOW. I WILL EDIT IN THE BALANCE OF THIS ARTICLE.
Hopefully, this is going to open your minds.
See you all later at part two.