Friday, May 18, 2012

Know Your Reader, Know Your Market

The final post in this series is all about how knowing your reader will help you sell, relate to, and reach other readers out there. If you'd like to check out the first three posts in this series, you can find one on genre, one on setting, and one on characters.

Knowing specifically who your reader is, as we discovered in the first post, gives us great insight into what our readers want to see in our novels.

And now that we know what they want to see, we have to know how to reach them. This is where knowing specifics - like age group, hobbies, etc. - about your reader will help.

So how do you reach your readers?

Know where they hang out on the Internet.
Where are your readers? On Twitter, on Facebook, blogging? Find a few places they frequent and frequent those, too. Make relationships.

Know where they hang out in real life.
Nearby bookstores are great places for signings or to leave bookmarks once your published. Do your readers spend time at church or other activities? See how you might be able to reach readers where they are.

What are their hobbies?
Try to think outside the box and come up with a variety of places. If it's book clubs, then offer to visit, chat via Skype, or even provide a free copy to the host of the book club and ask additional questions or be willing to answer additional questions via e-mail.

As far as thinking outside of the box...
If you blog, don't only blog about writing, blog about what your readers would be interested in. If your book is about a chef, then blog about recipes your chef might make or recipes that would appeal to people who would read what you write. If your readers are also writers, offer a giveaway with journals and pens and other writing stuff they'd enjoy.

Know what your readers are reading.
If your book is similar to someone else's out there, see readers of those books are into. If they like Denise Hunter or Jenny B. Jones, see what websites or author sites they're frequenting and try to make relationships. Or blog about those same authors and let readers know your writing is similar.

So much about this is building relationships. If you know who your reader is specifically, it will go a long way in helping you reach them and hopefully, in the long run, sell your books to them. And if you aren't published yet, it's never too early to appeal to those who might read your books by blogging about or seeking out the same interests they have.

How does knowing your reader help you reach them and make them interested in your writing? If you aren't published yet, are there any steps your taking or any ideas you have to garner readers for the future?


Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Ooh, what great food for thought! Very smart ideas, Cindy!

Julia M. Reffner said...

Great ideas, Cindy! I find this to be somewhat overwhelming, the part about connecting with them on the internet. There are a few people I'm convinced must not sleep :)

Jeanne T said...

Great post, Cindy. You've given me food to think on, so to speak. I hadn't thought about most of this, but I can really see how knowing your readers will go a long ways in developing relationships with them. Thank you!

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Thanks, Karen! I know some of it is for further down the road, but we cal always be mindful of creating relationships with readers.

Julia, you are so right! :) I agree, I don't know how some people keep up with all they do.

Hi Jeanne. It's easy to blog about writing and reach other writers, but harder, I think, to really get to readers. Knowing what they like can help with that. Have a good weekend!

Unknown said...

Love all these ideas, Cindy. I think one way to garner readers now, before being published, is by simply being present on the blogosphere and in social media. I'm making the effort and at times, it has felt cumbersome...but when I look at it as building relationships with future readers, it's fun.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Melissa, I agree! Building relationships isn't only rewarding for the present, but also for the future.

Ruth Douthitt said...

Blogging about what interest my readers? Wow, I hadn't thought about that one.

Great tips!!

I must try this. I love your blog because you always provide pertinent info. for writers.


Ralene said...

Great insights, Cindy! I'm struggling with this whole thing right now. :) Thanks for some good questions to think about.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Ruth, I'm glad you find information here you can use. Blogging about reader interests can seem counterproductive because they're just every day things every day people do, but that's why readers can relate. Thanks for stopping by!

Hi Ralene. Reaching out to readers is hard. It's hard to think ahead sometimes, always hard to find time, and definitely a challenge to find what topics interest them. But the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Lindsay Harrel said...

When I first started blogging, I thought I had to write about writing. My ideas dried up fast, since I was a new novelist and had no clue what advice I could actually offer to other writers...some of whom were ahead of me in the process! Now, I rarely write about writing, because I want to widen my audience beyond those who write. I mostly blog about faith and things I learn about life in general, whether it's related to relationships, marriage, etc. And on most Fridays I ask a fun question and tell how I would answer it. :)