Writers: Here Are 5 Ways To Discover Your Market Before Self-Publishing
Self-publishing is easier and faster than waiting for an agent to negotiate a deal with a publishing house. When you’re working with agents and publishers, there’s always a chance you’ll be rejected multiple times in a row. Being a good writer doesn’t mean you’ll get published right away. Even best-selling authors like Stephen King, Herman Melville, and Sylvia Plath were rejected with some harsh words.
Even if you don’t care about being rejected, it could be years before you land a publishing deal. At that time, you’ll be lucky if your subject matter isn’t old news. If you don’t want to wait or risk rejection, the cost of self-publishing is well worth it. However, there’s one challenge you can’t avoid with self-publishing: marketing your book.
If you’re going to self-publish and you don’t have endless cash to hire a marketing agency, you’ll need to market your book. To market your book, you need to know your market inside and out before you publish.
Knowing who your market is ahead of time will help you gather a list of targeted contacts to notify when you’re ready for your official book launch. In other words, you’ll have a list of interested people to email saying, “buy my book!”
If you’re not sure how to discover your market, try these ideas:
1. Print and distribute pre-release copies of content
You’ll never know who likes your work until you let people read it and wait for feedback.
Create a sample booklet of your content either by using a full chapter or pieces from multiple chapters. You don’t have to go to the print shop and figure out how to use the machines. It’s affordable to order saddle stitched booklets online. They’ll look more professional than folded up photocopied pages.
Give copies of your pre-release booklets to friends, family, and people you don’t know. Your friends and family will be your biggest supporters, but they’ll be less likely to share critical feedback. To capture the essence of who your market might be, hand out your booklets at coffee shops or even on the street corner. Just make sure you request the person’s feedback, and print a reminder for people to provide feedback on the back cover.
2. Look for your target market on other people’s blogs
Chances are, your topic is already being discussed on someone’s blog somewhere. Find as many related blogs as possible and pay attention to the comments. Who are the people commenting most? Do they reveal anything about themselves? How do they relate to the content? How deeply does the content affect them?
Take some of your cues from the blogs getting the most attention. There’s no guarantee your market will match anyone else’s exactly, but it will give you somewhere to start. For example, if you notice most commenters are teachers, that is a big clue that your content might appeal to educators.
3. Launch a blog discussing your topic
Start a blog and write about your topic. Post samples from your work and see how people respond. Of course, you’ll need to do a little marketing to get people to see your blog. That’s easy to do with Facebook ads.
At this point, you can target a broad range of people and then use the stats to find out who’s clicking on your ad. Or, if you have some idea of who your target market might be, narrow down the audience for your ads and try reaching different demographic groups. Make sure you’re collecting email addresses on the pages you’re driving traffic to.
4. Find a professional or big name in your subject matter
No matter what your subject is, there’s probably a big-name celebrity or neighborhood hero working with your subject matter. Find them and get on their social media page. Their following will be the result of their ability to market themselves, but their fan base on social media will give you insight into who your market might be. Take that information and start targeting those demographics with Facebook ads, and drive traffic to your blog posts.
While you shouldn’t spend a big marketing budget before you know who your audience is, Facebook ads are a great way to help sort that out.
5. Get on a related podcast
Get a spot on a podcast to talk about your subject matter from your unique angle. Give the audience a way to connect with you, and see who does. People who intentionally reach out to you are definitely interested in your content.
Marketing a book is hard work
Marketing a self-published book is hard work but well worth the effort. Experiment with publishing content online until you narrow down your target audience. Marketing may be tough, but it’s easier when you know who you’re marketing to.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.