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7 Questions to Ask When Defining Your Target Reader

By: Rachael Wilkins

You have come up with the most brilliant book idea anyone has ever thought of, and you can’t believe you didn’t think of it sooner. When asked who your target audience is, you naturally reply that this book is for everyone. Dare to dream.

The harsh reality is that unless you have developed a talent for walking on water, your book probably is not for everyone. But like every book, it is for someone – and finding that someone is one of the most crucial first steps in publishing a work that will truly have an impact on the lives, thoughts and actions of those who read it. After all, isn’t that why we write in the first place?

Knowing who you are writing to and keeping that in the forefront of your gray matter while you write is evidence of someone who gets it. It also makes the writing itself much easier. Not sure where to start? No problem. Here are a few questions to ask yourself about who your target reader is. This is not by any means an all-inclusive list, but it should get those wheels spinning in the right direction.

1. Is your target market too broad?
An expansive target market can actually mean more competition and a greater drain on your resources. Funneling down to a more specific niche can give you more of an impact with those who will actually be interested in your book.

2. Is your target market too narrow?
While it is important to steer away from the outer edges of the overall market, developing tunnel vision in defining your target market can have a negative impact on your profitability. This is a game of balance. Dance around a little until you find your sweet spot.

3. Who is reading other books that are similar to yours?
Identifying other books that are comparable to yours and examining who is buying and reading them can be a real-eye-opener. You might be surprised at what you find.

4. Who needs what you are offering?
This is especially important for non-fiction writers and more specifically if you are wanting to use your book to promote your business, brand or yourself as a speaker or consultant. A follow-up question to this one is, “Why do they need it?”

5. What are the demographics for your target reader?
Consider things like age, gender, marital status, race or ethnicity, occupation, family structure and education level. Are they parents, grandparents, young urban professionals, solopreneurs?

6. What is the culture of your target reader?
Examine things like work habits, recreation, activities, entertainment, religious observances and whether they are urban, rural, suburban or small town.

7. What is your target reader’s motivation?
Consider here what they want out of life, personally and professionally, as well as what their beliefs, goals and desires are. Are they politically motivated, family-oriented, success-driven, dreamers, doers?

Now that you are in this mode of thinking, keep going. What other questions can you think of that will help you identify your target reader? Dig deep. You can do this.

Happy writing!

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Rachael Wilkins creates custom graphic and written content to meet the online and print marketing needs of micro-businesses and organizations. She is the owner and Senior Consultant of Freestyle Business Solutions.