Know Your Genre, Know Your Reader, Be a Fan
“Do you really know the audience for your genre?
If you’ve ever questioned whether what you’re doing is working, then the answer might be ‘maybe not’.
It’s worth spending the time to become a fan of your genre and get to know what your audience is really looking for.
Although this may not seem like it will translate into sales, it’s the book marketing piece that can make or break your success as an author. Because writing the book is the easy part.
Book Immersion is Method Acting for Authors
You may have heard of an acting technique known as ‘immersion’ or ‘method acting.’ The actor takes a role and runs with it in every aspect of their lives. In essence, they become the character.
Daniel Day-Lewis is famous for it. Before filming Last of the Mohicans, he lived in complete isolation in the Alabama wilderness where he tracked, hunted, and skinned animals for food. This may seem extreme, Mr. Lewis is a brilliant actor. He lives and breathes every role he’s in. Your experience with writing, publishing, and marketing should be the same.
Book immersion is slightly different. It’s getting to know your market and your audience in a way that takes a lot of the guesswork out of your marketing strategy.
Success Leaves Clues
A lot of indie authors I talk to struggle with the concept of book marketing. What’s interesting is that struggle is in the “where” and “how” to market. They believe that they have tried everything. Often though, I find they haven’t tried everything that matters.
At a recent conference, I attended a panel led by authors making six figures on their books. They talked about things they did and didn’t do. This includes marketing ideas that bombed. Their secret to making so much money with their books is relatively simple—they know and understand their market.This includes not just what their market wants, but where they hang out (in terms of social media), and their motivation for buying. And you need to get there too. First, look at other, similar authors in your genre. Not household names, but those doing well, albeit perhaps slightly off the radar. Even if you have some authors in mind, take time to do a Google search: ‘genre and author.’
You may have to go several pages deep to complete a list of authors, due in part to ads by publishing companies and promotional service that can dominate the top results. Your goal here is to find authors with a high Google ranking who might not be otherwise well-known. This tells you that you’ve found an author who is getting exposure because they’re doing a lot of the right things.”