If You Write It, Will They Come?
Welcome to Part 2 of the 8-part Indie Author Business Plan, where we’ll be tackling the topics of getting to know your audience and propelling your e-book to a prominent position in the hearts and minds of as many people as possible.
Part 1 of this series highlighted the value of developing a company purpose, which was an important part of the process of laying the foundation upon which to launch your approach. We explored defining your core values, setting goals and objectives, and ultimately creating a mission statement to propel a successful product-driven campaign. At this point you’ve got some serious momentum generated and you’ll want to use that as we explore some of the different directions you can take your ebook marketing strategy.
Now that you’ve equipped your brand and yourself with a finished product (your eBook) and an enriched purpose to focus the message of your campaign, the next step is to take the spotlight off of yourself and start shining it on those who matter most in this entire process – your audience.
Part Two: The Market
To be more precise with the whole spotlight metaphor, we should start by saying you’ll actually want to position the spotlight in such a way that it shines down upon both your audience and your product simultaneously. You’ll want to place the needs and interests of the audience and key attributes of your product in the same light while trying to pinpoint exactly who you think your target demographic is. Start by examining the prospective market that will best fit the genre of your eBook.
The genre of your eBook is a huge indicator of who will be in the market for an eBook like yours. It is the literary category that your eBook best fits into after all, so naturally, it’s a great starting point when trying to identify the best audience for you. If you’ve written a science fiction novel you can direct your marketing efforts to audiences that have interests indicating they will enjoy a story that features an alien invasion taking place thousands of years in the future, for example.
How You’ll Approach & How You’ll Fit In
Using your genre and key elements that make your eBook what it is as guidance points, you can start to strategize how and who you will approach with the intent of converting them to loyal customers. Hopefully, once they are made aware of what you provide as a writer they will keep returning to you because they know what you can offer.
If you do not already have a general description written out of your work (think along the lines of the summary found on the inside flap of hardcover novels), write one to use as a focal point in finding related interests. In this case, the example eBook we are trying to market is a science-fiction novel centered on an alien invasion that takes place thousands of years in the future. Here’s a few important steps to take once you have your main attributes established:
- Identify events that draw attention to main touch points in your eBook. These events will help you find the best places to promote your eBook, whether it is a digital (social media conversations about UFO sightings) or real-world marketing opportunities (science fiction conferences).
- Identify key topics that can be targeted online with paid media. If you are willing to put money into advertisements, you can target audiences who are searching online for information about topics covered in your eBook. Gather keywords that people interested in aliens might type into a search engine for future reference when you begin your SEO efforts (examples: Area 51, Alien Invasions, Alien Theories, Science Fiction Novels, etc.)
- Identify current competitor eBooks on the market that have had success marketing science fiction. Study their audience and use those eBook campaigns as a model for success.
- Identify any untapped markets. Is there a specific focus in your eBook that highlights something let’s say for example, computer engineers would be interested in? Even if your research suggests that the computer engineer audience is not directly linked to being interested in alien invasions, they may be interested in a specific portion of your novel where actual computer engineering terms are key to the story. This might be enough to draw in a portion of this market and worth testing for a positive return.
Is Now the Time?
To conclude part 2 of our series it is time to decide if your eBook is ready to be released to the world based on your target demographic research. Is there a market ready to embrace your work and deliver positive return that lives up to your goals for success? If not, don’t worry! Consider taking time to devise an alternate strategy – sometimes all it takes is shift in focus on what main elements of your eBook you want to promote. If so, congratulations on a huge step forward!
— Marquina (@Marquina) June 1, 2016