As you write with the intention to publish, you’re no longer writing for your own pleasure. Your job is also to become a convincer. And, to do so, you need to know whom you’re trying to convince!
So how do you get to know your readers? It’s actually much more than knowing the general statistics (gender, age group, interest, etc.). It’s not even enough to know your genre. To write your manuscript and make the right decisions in publishing, you need to know your readers intimately; you need to know what makes them tick, what makes them tock, and what makes them turn away.
Ask yourself the following questions about your readers:
- What drives your readers to read? What do they seek? Is it entertainment? Escape? Information? Peace? Motivation? Find the core desire behind why they would pick up your book.
- What keeps your readers up at night? What is your readers’ main problem? What are they most concerned about?
- How can you best solve your readers’ problem? Will you reach them best by helping them get information as quickly and informally as possible? Or will you reach them best by providing the most thorough and investigative approach? Will you entertain them by creating characters they can relate to, so they feel understood? How do you take your readers’ biggest problem and fashion your book around solving it?
- Why would your readers buy your book? Of all the other books on the shelf, what would make your book THE book that your readers need?
- Why would readers NOT buy your book? What could hold your readers back from picking up your book?
- What types of content does your reader consume? Are they likely to be reading news sources? Blogs? Watch romantic comedies? Listen to Podcasts?
- Who are your competitors? How are they reaching readers?
- What are the issues with your competitors? How are your competitors doing it wrong? How can your book do it right?
Take some time to really investigate the answers to these questions and get into your readers’ heads; it will pay off for you as you get into your writing project, and even more when you are making decisions about the publishing. Knowing the answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create a book that easily connects with and convinces your readers to read your book—and possibly become a fan.