Kirk House Publishers TIPS FOR AUTHORS TIP #3—Define your target audience & build a platform

I have to build what?

“Okay, I am on Facebook, now what?” Robert said, feeling quite proud of himself. “Now people will buy my book, right? “He looked so hopeful at that moment that I hated to tell him that just being on Facebook wasn’t going to be enough to sell his books. In the meeting before this one, I had said t that he needed to build a platform. I explained to him that he would have to tell people that his book was available for purchase. He had no idea what a social media platform was or why he needed it.

If you want to sell your book to the masses, you have to build a platform. You need to establish your author platform presence on social media BEFORE your book is published. You need to find like-minded people who will want to purchase your book.

“But what if I don’t want to go on social media to promote my book?” You wouldn’t believe how many times I hear this from my clients. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the reality in today’s world of publishing is that you have to figure out a way to get people to buy your book, amid the millions and trillions of other books published in today’s market.

The goal is to get your book stand out among the thousands that are published each day.

I was explaining this fact to one client. John was adamant that his readers were not on social media. I couldn’t even talk him into setting up an author website. He had written a book about his experience in the military and said that he would find his book buyers at car shows, “because that is where they hang out,” he said.

In the next meeting with John, I asked, “What about the women who would purchase your book as a gift for their husbands or fathers, where would they be?” “Well, I hadn’t thought of that,” John said. “Or what about that person that lives in Ireland where can he find your book?”

After weeks of these types of conversations and questions from me, he finally realized that he needed an online presence, and he had a website designed. Recently he admitted that I was right--90% of the people purchasing his book were women. So John was targeting festivals and craft fairs to sell his book. John is doing the right thing. He is figuring out who is target market is. Then he is finding the places they hang out (online and in the real world). Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying you have to create a profile on every social media site available. That would be a HUGE waste of your time and book marketing dollars. What I am saying is that you need to define your target audience, then figure out how to reach them. “Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate.” — Erik Qualman

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