If you’ve been following my posts, you know how important finding your ideal reader is for book marketing and, more specifically, forming meaningful relationships with your readers.
But identifying your ideal reader also impacts each of the 7 stages of the publishing process: editing, design, production, distribution, marketing, promotion and licensing publishing rights.
Let’s take a look at each one.
Choosing Your Editor
Knowing your particular reader, it’s wise to hire an editor who is familiar with that genre, especially if you are new to it. For example, are you a literary writer trying to write genre fiction? An editor familiar with genre fiction may notice your sentences are way too long and use too many big words. They can explain to you why you may want to alter your style to appeal more to your readership and will help you do that.
Designing for Your Ideal Reader
What are the genre norms and the reader expectations for your type of book? It’s always good to be original, to stand out, but that doesn't mean throwing out all that is expected or is known to work. If you want to try something different, you need to know the rules before you can break them successfully.
The tropes and standard imagery or typography are used for good reason. They are what help readers find what they are looking for. If you want to do something completely different, you may risk alienating your readers—they won’t recognize that your book is perfect for them.
Editing and design go hand-in-hand when appealing to a particular reader, and they ensure you fit into your chosen genre or style. There is no point in having a cover that shouts thriller if the content is a cozy mystery, or vice versa. Doing this will simply lead to bad reviews because reader expectations will not be met.
As an indie author, you have a lot of choices about how to publish your books. You can go entirely DIY, or seek services to assist you. Some we know are fairly non-negotiable—editors and cover designers—others really are a personal choice. In particular, the production of your book. You can convert it to EPUB and MOBI files yourself, taking care of all the interior design, or you can outsource it.
What this stage has to do with your ideal reader is ensuring that your finished product looks high quality and, well, like a book your reader would like to read.
So my point here is, if you can’t achieve that professional look yourself, get some help. If you can’t afford to hire someone, consider trading services with another author.
Where do your readers buy books? Are they Kindle Unlimited subscribers? Do they prefer ebooks, paperbacks, hardbacks or audiobooks? Do they shop online or in bookstores? Which online retailers do they use—Amazon, or Apple Books, Scribd, Kobo, or one of the other numerous options?
Answer these questions with your ideal reader in mind and your distribution choices will be made for you.
Marketing to Your Ideal Reader
As the Reader Relationships Expert for BookWorks, my focus is on relationship marketing. Long-term success comes from meaningful interactions with your customers (readers), fostering loyalty and forming strong connections through open communication.
With this in mind, you want to market your books through your relationships. Consider how you can get consistent sales through your platform—letting your ideal reader know that you and your book exist.
So, to clear up any confusion, promotion is a marketing tool, it is not an alternative word for marketing.
Promotion can include things like your book promos, running a discount, some publicity or a book signing, advertising or a competition on your Facebook page, for example. These are usually short-term activities that may cause a sales spike.
They can be useful not only in generating more sales but also getting your book in front of new readers. You may be trying to reach anybody and everybody in the hope of getting sales, but your campaigns will be more successful if you choose your prospects carefully. Give some thought to your advertising targeting, for example, and the wording used in any promotional material, to appeal to people who match your reader avatar.
Licensing Publishing Rights
If you have identified your ideal reader, perhaps they don’t live in your home country. Or perhaps it’s a type of person who could be found in many different territories. If your ideal reader is American, could they just as easily be British, or Australian?
Alternatively, can you slightly modify your target reader to fit with another readership—in Europe or East Asia, for example?
If you have an avatar for another territory and can show how your book would appeal to readers there, you could be in a much stronger position for negotiations.
Keeping your target reader in mind throughout the publishing process can help you make decisions quickly and efficiently.
There’s no need to be confused by all the different options available. Whenever you find yourself going down the rabbit hole, stop and ask yourself, “What choice would my reader want me to make?”
Doing this will not only make things easier but will also ensure you end up with a product your readership will love.
Now you know the reasons why knowing your ideal reader is important, next time we’ll be diving deep into how to create a reader avatar. You won't want to miss that one!
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