Target specific audiences to sell your book

Not everyone will be interested in your book. Some people simply will not read westerns, others will not read mysteries. Some people have no interest in your detailed guidebook to elegant napkin folding or a first-person account of the Grenada invasion. But there ARE people who will be interested in any of these books. Your marketing challenge is to find them – and then get your book out in front of them.

Begin by asking yourself who those people are. A quick list of groups might come to mind. For example, a book about how to hike with kids obviously is of interest to hikers, so sending it to magazines and bloggers who write about hiking is a good idea.

Even then, some hikers and some hiking bloggers won’t be interested in the book. A magazine focusing on long-distance backcountry hiking won’t care much because kids typically are limited you to short day hikes. A blogger who writes about the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs a couple of thousand miles from Canada to Mexico probably isn’t interested either.

Like a marketing specialist, you’ll want to identify the demographic and psychographic attributes of your potential readers. For example, with the hiking book, I might think about:
• Age – Probably people in their 20s and early 30s who have children, but it also could be people in their 50s or 60s who have grandchildren.
• Gender – Either one will read the book, though mothers more than fathers tend to look for daily activities they might do with their children.
• Occupation – Parents and grandparents are the obvious answer, but what other people take children on day hikes? Teachers and youth group leaders are potential readers.
• Household income or home value – Day hiking is a low-cost activity. Still, parents must have some money to drive to trails, so one might speculate that middle to upper-middle class readers are more likely to buy this book.
• Marital status – Marriage probably doesn’t make a difference, but single parents with multiple children may be too harried to read the book.
• Presence of children in household – This is a definite in this case. Parents with grown children almost certainly won’t be interested in the book.
• Geographic region – Hiking tends to be more popular in the West, Upper Midwest and New England states than those on the Great Plains.
• Interests – Ask what kind of people hike. Answer: Those who like to be outdoors and those who like physical activities.

Your next objective is to target your audience. For example, seek publications and blogs that appeal to each of these groups. Given the age, gender and presence of children in the household findings, I might aim my marketing effort at magazines and blogs that deal with parenting not just hiking. Given the interests (a psychographic) attribute, I might target my marketing at publications and online sites advocating outdoor activities – including parks and playgrounds – or activities in nature. Given the geographic region finding, I might send my marketing materials to locations in Colorado, California, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin and Maine but skip Nebraska and Kansas (or at least save them for later in my effort).

Once you’ve decided who may be your target audience, next figure out what these people read and clubs they’re members of. Using a search engine, sift through various magazines, newsletters, blogs or clubs to identify places that might review your book, welcome book readings by you, be interested in having you as a guest speaker, and so on. This will take a concerted effort on your part, but the payoff potentially can be great, especially once you write a second or third or fourth book on the same topic, as you’ll develop a name for yourself as an expert in this niche.

Final step: Watch your book sales rise!