One of the hardest things to do, especially as an author, is actually finding where your market is..you know, in order to let them know you exist.
Actually, if you know where your market resides, ie. one specific location where all members of your market go on a daily basis and would actually be able and willing to notice your book…well, you’ve really got your task laid out quite easily before you. Make sure they all see your book in that one location. Done. Await your call from the New York Times for how you’d like your bio to read.
The truth of the matter here is that there really is no ONE place for most reader groups. Yeah, if you’re writing a book on how to work the bus system, then an ad inside the buses would probably suffice. But if you’re writing fiction, there’s not really one place where you’re going to find readers.
Readers don’t really congregate very often, unless it’s for a book club or, I suppose, at the release of movie adaptations of books they love so they can be horribly disappointed in how the adaptation went. There are a few places online where readers get together to talk about books, but they are generally quite wary of any advertisements, as those locations can quite easily become spam spawning grounds, making the spot all but unliveable.
In fact, for the general writer, you’re going to be stuck with that same situation where ever you go. Sure, you could drop off books at coffee shops, libraries, local park book swaps, and the couple other places where book readers might hang out and want to find books, but you’re really going to find yourself some stiff competition…you know, seeing as those places are also filled with the Gaimans and Grishams and Goddards and even authors whose last names don’t start with G.
But you need to get your book(s) in front of readers.
This is a question I’ve been working through for myself for quite some time. If you are an author and want to actually make a number of sales per month you can be proud of, you generally have to find readers outside of your local community (that doesn’t mean you should ignore your local community, but that you’ll still need to think on a much more global scale as well). This, of course, leads you back to the internet, as that’s today’s best method in which to interact with the world.
Finding your market, then, becomes quite the process of searching through haystacks for readers who really want to read. You could go everywhere placing your links on every possible thing you could place it on, but you’re much more likely to just be overlooked as spam than you are as something worth checking into.
Here’s my thoughts on the matter…thoughts I’m still currently working on testing out fully. Go through Goodreads and other online reader sites (there are quite a few…few of which have the regular users Goodreads does) and find places in which to directly interact with readers as a person. Make yourself a person first, salesperson second. If you can find the readers you want to have reading your books, get them to listen to you first by offering up useful things to talk about, then bring up the fact that you write books.
It’s what I like to call the sneak attack.
But it’s not much of an attack, as these are folks who are looking for things to read anyways. All you’re doing by talking like a real honest-to-goodness person first is getting past that personal spam barrier that everyone has learned to put up.
Finding your market isn’t easy, even by putting in the ideas of doing a search on goodreads or where ever. But it’s incredibly easy to find your market and completely lose them by acting like a jerk.
I’ve interacted directly with most of my readers (well, I honestly have no clue how many more people might have read my books, so I could be overshooting here). It might be a bit more slowgoing on getting people to read my books, but they’re also much more dedicated to reading all I have to offer…and getting quite interested in what I have coming out next.
This is where social media really reigns. It’s not that you can create ads for free…it’s that you can interact with your audience directly and show them that you’re someone they want to interact with. People expect that kind of attention nowadays. Be prepared to give it.
Alright, that’s it for today. Have fun out there!