Guest post by Jeff Rivera:
Once you’ve compared your book to similar novels, you’re ready to take the next step in identifying your target audience. This step should be simple since it’s something that only you, the author, would know.
Take a look at the main character of your novel. Who are they? What do they look like? How old are they? What job do they have? Are they gay or straight? Even if they’re alien, who would they be if they were human living in our time?
That’s exactly who you should go after. If the reader can identify with the main character, they’re more likely to like the novel and tell all their friends, which is exactly what you want. That is your target market, but there’s still one last step you need to take.
Who’s Looking for Your Novel?
Now that you’ve reviewed the target markets of novels similar to yours, and you have a solid idea of what kind of person your main character relates to, you’re ready to take the third and final step in identifying your target audience.
Close your eyes. No, really, close your eyes and picture in your mind’s eye someone in a library grabbing your book. What do they look like? What do they do for a living? Do they have kids grabbing at their skirt? Are they rushing in to grab your book on their lunch break? Are they male or female? Think about who they are.
Knowing how to distinguish your target audience is paramount in building your fan base. Once you’re certain your book will appeal to these types of people, you will be ready to proceed to the next step in reaching out to them.
Do Your Research
Once you know exactly who your target audience is, it’s relatively simple to find them. It could be as simple as typing in the words message boards or forums with your target market being moms or Asian moms, mechanics or mechanics in Oregon.
Since we know so much about them, including what other books they read and where our book would be shelved, we can also type in message boards with the title of a book similar to yours or the name of the author.
Get online and start exploring. Spend time getting accustomed to searching for message boards you’d like to join, but before you make any decisions, there are still a few things you need to consider.
So Many Message Boards, How Do I Choose?
When searching for an appropriate message board to sign up for, it’s a bit of a numbers game and it’s kind of like going to a club. Remember when you were younger and you wanted to meet someone? If you went to a club with just two people there, you didn’t have very many chances, did you? And what if neither of them looked attractive to you or acted like snobs?
Instead, it’s better to go to a club with a lot of people. Not so many that you have to squeeze your way through the crowd, but enough to have a multitude of choices. The same thing goes when you’re selecting a message board. You want to choose one with the right amount of people.
The best number to go by is at least 5,000 people, because about 10-25% of them will be active (meaning they don’t just come there once every 10 years). Those are the people you want to create relationships with, because if they like your book, they’ll talk about it, and what they say holds a lot of clout on the message board.
You Have to Stand Out
There are a few message boards that are great for writers, and that’s nice, but you want ones that are great for readers and don’t have too many other authors poaching on your territory. That’s why I suggest you join message boards that revolve around your topic but are not about books, if you can.
For example, if you wrote a novel about Christopher Columbus and his secret love life with a Native American girl, you might think about joining a historical board, or one for Spaniards or Native Americans. There shouldn’t be too many writers on those boards and that way you’ll stand out.
There is still a lot of cache to authors. People still do a collective gasp if they find out you’re an author because about 80% of Americans say they would love to write a book one day, and most of them never do. Those are the types of boards you want to join. After you come across a few ideal message boards, there’s still something you need to be aware of.
Brush Your Shoulders
Sometimes there are just nasty bitter people on message boards who like to attack and gang up on you. It’s happened to me before.
Resist defending yourself. Resist arguing. Don’t bother. Keep going. Focus on something else, which is different than ignoring them. Don’t even acknowledge them. It’s a waste of time. And it’s tempting, believe me: you want to prove you’re not the evil person they’re telling everyone that you are, but you indulging them won’t get you very far.
The essence of all these steps is to remain positive in all that you do. Stay focused and remember your goal: to build lasting relationships. Abandon anything else that may hinder your success on these message boards. Once you’ve rid yourself of distractions, you need to start thinking about your excerpt.
About the author: Jeff Rivera is an author and inspirational media personality. He has appeared on national television, radio and print in such outlets as The Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Right On! Magazine, Rotarian Magazine, TMZ, WABC, WNBC, WCBS, SITV, American Latino and NPR. Rivera created a massive online following before the eBook revolution even existed. He was able to land an agent and a book deal with Warner Books (now known as Grand Central Publishing) within 7 days. He has used the knowledge he gained from this experience to help coach his clients on social media campaigns and has helped over 100 clients take the first step in landing an agent too. Learn more at http://www.jeffrivera.com/index.php