Who Will Read Your Book? or: Know Your Target Reader

Publishing 101-Phase 2
[Your Manuscript] Target Reader

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Get Clear on Who Will Read Your Book That’s Your Target Reader

Each book you have read and loved was a book written just for you.

And each book you have read and disliked was a book erroneously marketed to you.

When you pick up a book and love it, you are the Target Reader for that book; when you don’t love the book, you aren’t the Target Reader.

That is a pretty over-simplified explanation of a Target Reader, but that is really the bottom line.

Picture127Your Target Reader is the person who reads the title or description of the book and buys it because it is just what they were looking for. It is the person who loves your writing and your stories because you speak right to their heart, their needs, and/or their desires.

It is important to identify a Target Reader because knowing who your book is for will help you create parameters for your book during the publishing process like: where you will sell it, how long it should be, the language you will use in your description, marketing, title, etc.

My clients often get overwhelmed when the subject of the Target Reader comes up. Many initially say, “Well, anyone would enjoy this book.”

That might be true, but it is much easier to write for and sell to someone rather than trying to get the attention of anyone.

Think about your topic. What is the one kind of person your book would help or entertain?

If your book is non-fiction, it is easier to identify a target reader. If it is a self-help book, your target reader is the one who needs your plan. If it is a memoir, that person is probably a lot like you–similar age, interests, background and ideals.

Fiction is a little harder to narrow down. You can narrow your Target Reader by genre, and sometimes gender. You can count on a reader of fiction to be a book lover because they are choosing to spend their time with a book over other entertainment options. Sometimes a person of a certain stature, occupation or region may be more interested in your books than others.

Here’s a good way to think about a Target Reader:

  • In what ways is your reader similar to you?
  • Are they different from you? How?

The bottom line is this: if you want your readers to find your book, you need to find your readers first. When you discover who they are and then share with them about your book, you will be able to sell more books to more people who will love your writing than if you just throw a book up on Amazon and hope that people find it.

taking stepsAction Step:

On a sheet of paper, write down the attributes of the kind of person who you think will most benefit from your book. Include gender, age, location, job, family, faith, political affiliation, and life circumstances (for nonfiction). Also answer the questions, In what ways is your reader similar to you and How is your reader different from you?

 Doing this exercise now will help you so much during your whole publishing journey.

Next: Is My Manuscript Long Enough? (How to Tell)

See the previous post in this series here
See the next post in this series here

 Now it’s your turn:

How do you identify your target reader? Share below and help the other writers on this blog!