Publishing 101: 4Tips for Identifying (and Reaching!) Your Book’s Target Audience

target audience of a book

Publishing 101: 4Tips for Identifying (and Reaching!) Your Book’s Target Audience


In order to sell books, it is important to figure out which readers you are targeting. While (ideally) a wide spectrum of people will be interested in your book, you want to focus your marketing efforts on reaching the readers who are interested in your book / genre specifically. For example, if you’ve written a YA fantasy novel, promoting it to rural 60+ grandmothers may get you a couple downloads, but it won’t be nearly as effective as getting it in front of teen readers who love fantasy.

Your target audience will be the people who are most likely to buy and read your book. So how do you determine who your target audience is? How do you reach them once you figure it out? Here are some tips that can help you answer those questions!

1. Create a “persona” to market to.

When I was first learning about marketing, we did an exercise where we came up with an imaginary person we were selling our book or product to. Their demographics, their psychographics, and their purchase habits. Creating this embodiment of who you think is most likely to buy your book, and writing marketing materials to that person, will keep your messaging consistent and on brand. By looking at the people already interested, the genre you’ve written, and the brand you are trying to create, figure out what this person looks like, where they like to shop, what makes them happy, etc. and use those things to craft your message. That way those people who fall into your imaginary person’s demographics and psychographics will connect to the message.

2. Examine the target audiences of titles that are comparable to yours.

Figuring out comparable or “comp” titles is an important first step in book marketing. It allows you to see what the audiences look like for books similar to yours, and what those authors have done to reach them. Looking at similar authors’ social media profiles is also helpful in determining the demographics of the people who follow them. You will be able to analyze what seems to work and what doesn’t for similar titles, and use this information for your own brand to encourage sales.

3. Look at your current audience.

If you have already written a book or have built an audience on social media, pay attention to who makes up the majority of your followers. Who else do they follow? How much do they interact? Paying attention to who enjoys your content right now is a big indicator as to the types of people you should target.

4. Find out what they’re searching.

You want to understand what your target audience is searching for online so that you can show up in or around those searches. One way to do this is to look into the keywords people use when searching for you or a similar book through keyword tools online. There are a lot of free ones out there including Wordstream, Soolve, and Ubersuggest, but you can also just search for your book yourself and see what comes up in the prompts. Finding out which keywords your target audience is using makes it easy for you to use those same keywords in ad copy or book descriptions so that your book appears in search results to the people who are most likely to purchase it.

These are just a few ways to figure out what your target audience looks like and how best to find them online. Hopefully, some of these ideas will translate into future sales!


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