The number one question we get asked about book marketing is “how do I find and reach my ideal reader?” If you’re struggling with reaching your readers, you’re not alone.
Today I want to tell you about my friend Lila. She wrote a book for kids that was really beautiful. It had gorgeous illustrations from a wildly talented professional artist, she had a story that engaged children and shared a deeply personal – but somehow still universal – message. This book had everything going for it.
When I met Lila, she was trying to figure out how to market this book. As always, we sat down and talked about her ideal reader. It’s important to know your ideal audience when marketing your book and sometimes, your ideal audience isn’t the same as your ideal reader.
Knowing your ideal audience is the #1 key to succeeding with book marketing.
When we chatted, she was confident she knew her target but she had a problem.
“I’m marketing to kids, but Alexa, how does this work? I’ve read your book, and I’ve taken your classes, but kids aren’t the ones buying the book! I’m just not sure how to talk to my ideal reader about buying my book when my ideal reader is 6 years old!”
Bingo! This is one of those cases in which the actual person BUYING the book is the one you want to be marketing to, as opposed to the ideal reader of the book.
After we talked, she changed her whole strategy and it changed the whole trajectory of her book. We didn’t need to change the illustrations. We didn’t need to get a celebrity endorsement. Oprah was not involved.
I simply asked her three questions about her ideal reader.
Where do kids get the books they read?
Lila quickly responded: they’re purchased by moms, dads, grandparents. And, of course, she pointed out that kids find great books at school and libraries.
Who makes the buying decisions on those books?
Now Lila was getting my point – the people making these choices weren’t kids. They were school librarians, classroom teachers, family members and other grownup folks in the child’s world.
Where do we find these people?
Here the real work had to begin! We started digging in and a lightbulb went off for Lila. While she’d written her book for kids (and that’s what made it so special and magical), she needed to pivot when it came to her ideal audience and speak to the person with the buying power to put it in the hands of those young readers!
She was still targeting her “ideal reader” – the very distinct 5 ½ year old Desi girl named Ella she’d dreamed up, who lived outside Houston, TX, and loved unicorns, climbing trees and rainbow kneesocks. But her marketing strategy had to be directed to the people in Ella’s world.
Lila adjusted her strategy and saw IMMEDIATE results. Her message was reaching the people it needed to reach, at last, her book was getting into the hands of “Ellas” all over the country and Lila’s story had a very happy ending.
This is one of the most common questions we get. Lila isn’t the only author struggling with showing up for her ideal reader.
How do I “show up” in front of readers?
It’s not as hard as you might think, but it does require a bit of thought and strategy. Strategy that, if you were being published by a traditional publisher, would be largely facilitated by them. But this is not a luxury that indie authors have. You have to figure these things out on your own.
You can check out our on demand workshop Getting in front of your Target Reader if this is a topic you want to learn more about!
Let’s find those readers and sell more books!