9 Ways to Help You Find Your Readers Part I

find your audienceAs writers we play the infinitely difficult Where’s Wally of reader spotting. But locating those pesky readers is more tortuous than tweezing your granddads nasal hair, and yet, it is THE most important thing we do.

As I draw nearer to handing my book to beta readers, the prospect of completing it, having to press publish and my labour of love subsequently disappearing into the utterly saturated Amazon rainforest of books, never to be seen again, is becoming frighteningly real.

In an attempt to prevent the only people buying my book being mumsy and wifeypoos, I read 3 marketing books last month:

Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book

Nick Stephenson’s Supercharge Your Kindle Sales

And Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies 

The whole point of my blog is to share what I learn on this sanity testing journey to authordom and what did I learn? Well, I’m resolute on the fact finding your readers will always be the holy grail of authorlyness and because it’s the holy grail, not all of us will find it. BUT, I also learnt a whole heap of other neat tricks to help us along the way, as well as finding an answer to the 64 bergillion dollar question, should an author blog…?

I learnt a shit ton of stuff, so I’ve split this post into two.

So here are 9 ways to help you find your audience, this week I bring you way one to five.

 

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Image from Amazon

WAY ONE – DEFINE YOUR AUDIENCE

There’s nothing like specificity when you’re trying to achieve something and defining your audience is THE number one rule, I actually learnt that from beta reading Bloggers Bash attendee Cynthia’s super helpful book: Write Your Marketing Strategy.

Before you try and con yourself with the ol’ ‘I don’t write in a genre’ adage, just remember what you’re trying to do… sell books. Not having a genre is fine, as long as you can define your audience, and don’t kid yourself, your audience, ain’t ‘everyone’. If you don’t know who your audience is and you’ve finished your book, shame yourself with a bout of rhythmic slapping until you rid yourself of bullshit and then start frantically researching other books like yours until you find the answer.

Once you have the answer, define them, and by that I mean ask yourself questions like:

  • How old are your target audience?
  • What hobbies or interests might they have?
  • Are they employed?
  • What social media do they use?
  • What else might they read either in your genre or outside of it?

Even knowing the answer to some of these questions makes it easier for you to target your readers. Knowing the answers means you can both tailor your marketing to their needs and wants and target said marketing in the right places.


WAY TWO – THE MEANINGFUL LOVE FEST

The mantra the experts are touting (and they really are touting it, the phrase seems to have been coined in some kind of new wave brain washing literary love fest) is to make ‘real’ meaningful connections with people. Apparently, that stops the car salesman feeling when you drop the equivalent of a author C-bomb by emailing your subscribers and possibly, maybe, gently pointing out the fact your latest book is published.

Their ethos is – if you’re providing quality material, being super helpful and someone signed up to your list, then they do want to hear from you. So stop beating yourself up with greasy car salesmen, no body likes them, someone’s got to sell cars and frankly that fetish is just weird.

I’m not sure any of the books actually defined what meaningful connections were, but if I were to scratch my noggin I’d say it’s connecting with people in a way that provides them with something they want or need, thereby making them want to come back to you again. #WinWin. You get a reader and they get what they want.


Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

WAY THREE – STRATERGASM YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

The point about defining your readers is you then know where to look for them.

I write YA fiction. Authors are told to use social media to connect with readers. Use it. USE IT ALL they said, but unless you’re a 16 legged 8 brained octopus with major skills in multitasking, then you can’t possibly use every social media platform effectively.

So don’t.

I’ve been using Facebook and Twitter to connect with people, but my school girl error is not recognising where YA’s hang out.

Twitter and Facebook are so last season, they make Yo-Yos, Nintendos and Pokemon look fashionable (wait one, Pokemon are fashionable again…), anyway you know what I mean.

If you wana get down wit’ da kids, it’s all about Instagram and Snapchat. So if I wanted to connect with YA readers I’d be better off focusing on those social media outlets than anywhere else.

Pinterests primary audience is women aged 25 to 34, but both the age categories either side of that one also have high usage of Pinterest. So if your target audience is women starting there is a good place.

If your target audience isn’t on Twitter then hammering the hashtags isn’t guna do shit for your sales numbers. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but one you need to if you’re serious about selling books.

What’s the takeaway here? Target, target, target.

Target like it’s your wanker-bosses soft spot and you’re going in for the kill and never waste time on crap that isn’t going to help you reach your goal.


 

Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

WAY FOUR – FAN GIRL THE SHIT OUT OF YOURSELF

This one was from Tim Grahl. I highlighted the following quote in big neon yellow.

I’ve been told a number of times in life (#MostlyAtWork) that my passion and enthusiasm comes across as aggression. Frankly anyone that thinks that can take a running jump off the go-fuck-yourself-cliff. Too much?

Tim said this:

“Enthusiasm sells. Let it out.” Tim Grahl, p.124 of Your First 1000 Copies.

FUCK YEAH. I felt like doing a rocky punch in the air at the top of the steps.

Tim explains, and I’m using my own words here: we need to fangirl ourselves. Cause like, duh… If we’re not buzzing our tits off over our own books, why in the shiz would anyone else give a flying eff?

Why be enthusiastic?

Because enthusiasm is just as virulent as the self-doubt plague. It’s infectious and rubs off on others.

What does that mean? It means talking about your book. And I know. I know, *gently rubs calming oil into your writerly hands* talking about your book is scary and ‘sleazy salesman’ but you know, it’s not really. Not if your enthusiastic about it, and you believe it’s going to help someone or brighten their day.


Image from Amazon

Image from Amazon

WAY FIVE – ADVERTIZLING

Hate to say it, but reaching audiences for free these days is becoming rarer than Dodo spotting safaris.

Facebook has been dropping its conversion rates for years. Facebook page posts appear in hardly any feeds these days because they cottoned on to advertising.

The same can be said for Instagram and Pinterest. As much as it pains me, I’m fairly sure I’ll have to invest if I want to get any traction in book sales.

The one good way to advertise for free (at the moment) is through Facebook videos. Facebook are competing to be THE biggest platform for video delivery – in other words they are trying to take over YouTube. As a result, Facebook is allowing any video posted directly through Facebook to appear in a significantly higher portion of newsfeeds.


Thoughts? How do you find your readers? What cool tricks do you have up your sleeves? Let me know in the comments.


If you want even more free tips and tricks straight to your inbox, sign up here.funny 5-july

 

77 comments

  1. Ah… that’s interesting about Facebook video! I posted 2 (very amateurish) videos about my blog to fb, as you know, and was very surprised at the amount of attention they got, and the number of newsletter subscriptions I got as a consequence. Now I know why. I guess that’s a way to go for me. Very interesting post, Sacha, can’t wait for the next one! (So mean of you to split it in half, I want to know NOW! Lol!)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Oooooh congrats on being at the finish line. I should finish this draft at the end of the month and I have till the end of September to edit before I hand it over to beta readers – *feel nauseous even considering that*

      Fingers crossed next week is as useful 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Like Ali, I was interested in the bit on videos on Facebook. Unlike Ali, I’ve never tried it but reading her comment after your post makes me think it could be worth a go. Haven’t a clue how to go about it – or how to find the time to do all this marketing stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Sacha, and I do almost none of these! Oh no! (I’m rubbing my face right now and groaning). Ha ha. You are a wealth of information. I’m waiting for your next post and then I’m going to make a plan to make a plan 😀 Now, that’s a step in the right direction, if you ask me. Honestly, thanks for doing all the research and sharing your wisdom ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hahaha a plan to make a plan, you sound like me! 😂

      And aww shucks, thank you 💖 means a lot. I’m really just a selfish geek that likes to learn a lot! I just happen to share it 😋😋😋

      Okay, maybe I like sharing it, but don’t tell anyone or you’ll ruin my reputation of being dead inside! 😋

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Rockin post girl! I’ve read all those books and glad you’re on the ball girlie! We can join a ton of social sites, but face it, they aren’t all hitting our targets, or worth our time when it’s valuable. Once I get my new book out I’m going to investigate video marketing more. For now I do get traction from FB and Twitter because of my ‘audience target’ LOL. But you’re ahead of your game because you know that you have to snap crackle and pop over to some different places. And of course we must talk about our books, but with enthusiasm and interest and let them know why, not ‘BUY MY BOOK’. “A” student today Sacha girl! 🙂

    Like

      1. Lol. And very true, we have to take what we read and apply to what works best for us. Oh and btw, have your replied to my email? I haven’t checked today, but I have a post ready for you 😉

        Like

  5. Congrats on nearing the finish line! I have been voraciously reading ways to market SP Kindle books, having launched mine in July. I’m working on a longer NF book and will need all the tactics I can get. I would like to get some reviewers for the first one, so that’s my next tactic 🙂 Soon to be using KDP select to do a free promo! Thanks for the tips!

    Like

  6. Sasha, I feel you sooooo much!

    I’ve published my book last March and only now I’m starting to get the hang of promotion. Because, you know what? I think that learning these stuff is good, it does help, but I’ve learned that there is a little gap betwee what the experts say and what actually works.

    For example, I’ve worked the hell out of me to establish myself as an expert of 1920s life. I think I’m starting to get there, and i think that will help me a lot in the future… but it doesn’t sell books.
    Another example is: when you’re a fiction writer (like myself) what can you do to HELP you audience?
    I think this is the kind of advice that deasn’t work for us. We need to tweek it and morph it in order to make it viable for us. I came to the conclusion that for a fiction writer like me, because there is no way to help others (unless you write about writing, which I occasionally do) the best thing to do it share your passion.
    I do think, like you said, that enthusiasm is a great tool… but it’s very hard to make it effective on social medias. Not impossible, but harder than one may think… if you’re trying to sell books.

    So in the end I came to this conclusion: following the advice of experts is the smartest thing you can do… in the long run. But in order to actually sell you book, you need to get the hang of actual promotion too. And that means, as you pointed out, investing money.

    I’ve only just come to this stage, so I don’t know how it will work. What I know is that sharing your passion and building your expertice works great to create community, but (at least at the beginning) it doesnt’ sell books.

    Can’t wait to read more of this series!

    Like

    1. Hey, I am so sorry for the ridiculous delay in replying. I am working to some tight deadlines with my book, so I have been quite slack on replying to comments.

      I agree first and foremost – there is definitely a gap between what’s ‘meant to work’ and what actually works. I think thats the case with a lot of things. What I think probably does work is the principles though – the detail of these things doesn’t always work as we need to tailor to ourselves.

      Okay, so 1920’s fiction – If you’re a fan of 1920’s fiction, what would you want from an author you like? Think less about the word ‘help’ and more about you as a fan/reader.

      For me, as a fan of fantasy – I want sneak peaks, extra stories set in the same world – or even research articles on the stuff that’s inspired the story.

      The ‘helpfulness’ is more for non-fic writers.The next half of this post is out now by the way! 😀 https://sachablack.co.uk/2016/08/15/9-ways-to-help-you-find-your-readers-part-ii/

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Another dose of solid information delivered with “rhythmic slapping” to “rid yourself of bullshit”
    Such a way with words.(interesting obervations about which social media are shining now. Videos do get attention more and more. It’s efficient to use your efforts in where it counts.)
    All those shy people out there protectively holding their books while wishing to be “discovered” should sit up and take notice. Getting a book into the public is just like getting a child to stand on their own 2 feet. It doesn’t happen over night, and it takes a lot of steps before they run free.
    great post

    Like

  8. Late to the party–again–but this is SO encouraging. As I inch toward self-publishing, I’m taking notes on friends’ successes and ~ahem~ less-than-successes. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Sifu.

    Like

  9. So much to take in, but all very worthwhile. I’m going to have to have a rethink about Social Media. I love using Twitter and SU (and have even started using Facebook a bit more), but concentrating on just two of three, rather than all of them, is certainly the way to go. Now I just need to find out which ones my target audience use. Please, don’t let it be Pinterest 😱

    And that question. Should authors blog? Can’t wait to find out what you have to say about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a lot to think about, my mind that been blown by these books. I think having a clear strategy for social media is really important. WE can’t all be on all social media platforms and expect to be successful. So we have to pick and choose!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Using video to promote book, as in vlogging perhaps or having authors expand to youtube accounts? THAT’s interesting and definitely something to consider I think. Everything’s got to be in snippets nowadays, and most ppl prefer to watch a 1 minute video than to read something for 1 minute. Consider this a light bulb that just went off above my head thanks to you, Sacha lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure about YouTube – I haven’t done my research there, but I know videos uploaded to Facebook are doing exceptionally well at the moment 😀 I agree on the 1 minute videos too – we are a lazy nation, but that’s something we can take advantage of as writers 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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