Are you a TED-Talk loving, Whole-Foods shopping, NPR-listening Gen X dog owner who loves to travel?
So when you write a book, more than likely you have an idea of who your reader is. Any author who doesn’t is probably struggling with the message of their book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction. Of course, an author can begin their book without knowing who will read it, but in fairly short order, they’ve got to have an idea of who their reader is or they run the risk of muddled writing, mixed messages, unclear storylines or thematic development, and generally utter chaos.
Additionally, knowing who the reader is helps the author develop a plan to market the book – that is, find those prospective readers and introduce the book to them. This is can be a fairly elaborate process – and rightly so, as marketing a book generally takes a lot more time than the actual writing and publishing process.
In the case of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, it’s a big story with many moving pieces – and, of course, a dog. A Jack Russell terrier named Isis, to be specific. So, we’ll start with dog owners as a key demographic for this book.
The story is about a man who’s dissatisfied with his life, although he’s pretty tightly wound and very security conscious. He leaves his job as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs to travel around the world. Second demographic: people who love to travel – or imagine that they’d like to see the world.
Stan’s best friend is a visual artist named Paula, who’s a free spirit. She teaches Stan to loosen up a bit, and ultimately issues the challenge that causes him to set off on his round-the-world trek. Third demographic: art lovers, culture seekers, folks who listen to NPR and have season tickets to their local theatre companies.
How can we pin this down even further? I’d guess my ideal reader is likely college educated. They exercise more than the average person. They probably have an above-median income. I’d guess they’re not overly religious; though they may belong to a particular religion or sect, they more than likely attend only on high holy days as opposed to doing so with any kind of regularity.
They probably read more than the average reader and may belong to at least one book club.
They’re probably politically savvy – and would tend to lean center-left; if not, they might have a hard time with aspects of the story.
They likely have a couple favorite TED Talks.
They may or may not have kids – that doesn’t seem to be a big determinant either way.
They’re probably at least Gen Xers, if not older. As my husband pointed out recently, since there are no vampires, zombies, or dystopian teen storylines, Stan is unlikely to attract younger readers. I told him I could add a zombie – it would definitely be unexpected.
What does all this knowledge do for me? It tells me where to look for my readers. They probably shop at Whole Foods or Sprouts or Natural Grocers – so a venue near one of those shops might work well for a book signing. Book club organizers are another good target for me. Cultural Meetups may be another good place to connect with these folks. Philanthropic organizations would probably draw a lot of my readers as volunteers, so there’s another good place to do some networking.
If you like the sound of Stan’s story but don’t find yourself in any of the above-mentioned categories, that doesn’t mean the novel is not for you! Please be sure to download and read the first 5 chapters and let me know what you think. And please be sure to look for the finished book in early Spring 2017.
LAURA ORSINI is an author and self-publishing consultant who works with other authors who want to change the world. From concept to publication to the first-time author’s book launch, her expertise will help you make a better book and find more readers. Friend her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter, and check out her pins on Pinterest.