As indie authors, we all know that it’s important to continually develop new book marketing strategies. But most of the time we forget what a crucial role our target buyer markets play.
People are not static, so your understanding of your buyer market when you first started writing is likely dated if you haven’t done any recent market research.
But the good news – it’s relatively painless to get up to speed and I’ve listed 5 simple exercises you can do to get back on track.
Write reader personas
Create a short paragraph or two that describes your different target reader groups.
If you’re a seasoned author you likely did this at the very start of your book marketing journey.
If you’re a new author, this is a great exercise you don’t want to skip!
For example, women with young kids have very different needs and buying habits than women in their 20s, but if your book or books strongly appeal to both, you need to fully understand both.
Use the working descriptions you develop as your inspiration for the other exercises to come!
Observe readers in action
It’s easy to find your target readers on Goodreads, specifically in groups, but you can also find genre-specific blogs that get great reader interaction as well.
Comments on book review sites can also be really telling!
Sit back and read what these individuals discuss, learn their likes and dislikes, narrow down what they’re asking for more of in the books they’re reading, and especially themes and characters they’re tired of.
If you write non-fiction you might see complaints about regurgitated information – use this to inspire updates to your next edition!
Get involved to dig deeper
Once you’ve observed some reader activity and taken as many notes as you can likely use, commit to taking it up a notch.
Getting involved with readers directly benefits you twofold.
For starters it gives you a chance to ask questions and get additional feedback you need to really customize your book marketing approach.
It also gives you brand recognition. Having readers feel like they know you, or at minimum if they can recognize your name, will serve you very well when your next book releases.
Getting involved can happen in different ways depending on what you write, so Goodreads, social media, maybe it means you hop on some free webinars in your topic area or attend a conference.
Understand how your readers shop
Soon you’ll have a feel for who your readers are and who they really are as subgroups of broader demographics. Use that insight to develop fresh new keywords for your books on Amazon.
Remember, effective keywords use the same words and phrases shoppers use to find the products they’re interested in.
Few readers will simply search for ‘romance’. Instead they’ll search for ‘cozy holiday romance’ to narrow down their current mood and to reflect the season we’re in.
Yes, timing affects your keywords, this is why you should be updating them once a quarter.
Reinvent your book marketing game plan
Now that you feel more confident about who is most likely to buy your book, and how to draw them to your Amazon page with keywords, this knowledge should be reflected in your book marketing.
For example, different social media platforms attract different demographics of people.
So if you haven’t looked up current demographics for the top social sites, now is the time to do that.
Perhaps you’ll discover you can spend less time on Twitter (or drop it altogether). Maybe you’ll find there’s a strong chance you’ll do better on Instagram.
Different reader markets also have different needs. Satisfy these needs with the types of giveaways and bonus content you’re putting out there.
I wrote about giveaways and bonus content recently, so you can get some fresh ideas by checking out that post.
Market research and market awareness are important parts of book marketing, so get comfortable with it.
You also need to be aware that market interest and needs change.
Fiction genres shift and develop new trends. So you need to stay on top of these things and work them in whenever you can, or drop old ones.
And non-fiction needs certainly change as industries progress, laws change, and new technologies develop – just to name a few reasons!
Don’t stick your head in the sand when it comes to book marketing. The changing landscape is actually what opens doors for new exposure and more sales, so embrace it!