Are you My Audience?

Yesterday I saw my book as it would appear on a kindle for the first time.  There are a few places where an indent is in the wrong place or there is one too many spaces, but in general, it is almost ready to make it’s debut into the wide world of publishing.

And it is a wide world.  While filling out the forms to put the book on Amazon I was reminded that it will be available literally all over the world.  I had to look over the pricing and returns for books sold in Japan and throughout Europe.  I’m feeling challenged by marketing my book in my hometown, it’s way too huge to think of who might be my audience in Tokyo.

So far my audience has consisted of friends from high school, friends who teach writing (and were willing to help me edit), a few family members and neighbors, and some sweet, willing readers from Goodreads (for a less biased opinion).  With one exception, I have had great feedback. I feel like I have something to offer that readers will truly enjoy … if I can find those readers.  

I saw a comedy sketch by a 20-something comedian about marketing his show.  He has developed a big following that is growing on its own through teenage word-of-mouth marketing (very powerful stuff, that is).  An older, stuffy sounding voice from off stage prods him to follow a formula and do things that are out of character, possibly even change his show some, to expand his audience.  It reminded me of the difficult and sometimes frustrating game that creative people are playing in the media-saturated world of today.  The one I am about to play.  

I already have tweets and emails arriving daily from sources who (for a fee) will help self-published authors market their book.  The funny thing about these is the ‘one size fits all’ mentality they are selling.  The idea that marketing a science textbook can or should use the same sources and techniques as marketing a romance novel.  

Social media is flooded with tweets, blurbs, posts, photos, and videos from self-published authors.  Many are writers who have jumped on a bandwagon and quickly churned out something that is close to (but just far enough to avoid that pesky plagiarism problem) the latest hot selling novel.  Marginal erotica is flooding the market in the wake of 50 Shades of Grey.  Most of these are bad … really bad.  The type of bad that will make sure the author only sells one book.  My challenge is to find a way to stand out in that sea.  My other challenge is patience.  

The comedian is really doing it right.  By doing what he does best (being funny to a specific audience) he is allowing word of mouth to slowly build him up.  It takes more patience, but in the end he (and I) get more of a loyal audience and fewer bad reviews.  His style of comedy is not for everyone as my book is not for everyone.  By patiently searching out the specific audience who will love your work and letting them sell you to others, you build an audience who looks forward to your next book (or show), then they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on …


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