Blogger: Mary Keeley
When I ask writers who their audience is, I often hear responses like, “women from 20-65” or “readers who love history with suspense” or “men and women who want to learn more about my topic.” Those are defined groups, but my next question drills deeper: How much do you know about your readers and their world? The time to gather this information is long before you start pitching your book to readers.
Interaction with your readers is the new imperative. They are the lifeblood of your book’s sales success. Simply pitching your book to them on Facebook and at book signings does not a meaningful connection make. Get to know them as individuals and gain understanding of their common struggles, interests, hopes, dreams, anxieties, what their daily life is like, and their concerns about their world.
It’s all about identifying your readers’ felt needs and incorporating them into your book. It works the same for fiction and nonfiction. Here are a few suggestions for how to gather this information.
- Go where they hang out. In-person connections make readers feel valued and in turn, they may develop a loyalty to you and your books when you show genuine interest in them and their world.
- Invest in an online meeting service like Go to Meeting if your finances allow. Invite groups of your Facebook followers to an occasional online get-together where you can catch up with each other and then talk about your book. Record their feedback on what touches them most, what doesn’t, and why.
- As you get to know your readers, collect articles and current information that relate to your books and could be of interest to them. Share it on your blog, newsletter, or social media and ask readers for their feedback.
- Monitoring which of your tweets get retweeted and Facebook entries get liked, and so on, may indicate or confirm a felt need.
When you pitch your book to agents, your focus should be on its unique qualities that set it apart from other books in your genre, in other words, from the perspective of its marketability. But when you’re pitching your book to readers, the connections to their felt needs and interests are what matters in your approach.
How well are you doing at connecting with your readers? What have you learned about their lives, their world, and their felt needs? What additional methods have you used to connect with your target readers?
Pitching your book to readers involves connecting with their felt needs. Click to Tweet.
Getting to know what is important to your readers is imperative for authors today. Click to Tweet.