Daily Archives: June 29, 2010

Author Success: A Well “Business Planned” Future, part 5

PART FIVE: Target Markets

Anyone out there an archer? Or maybe you target shoot a gun or rifle? Anyone ever play “Pin the Tail on The Donkey”? Real different things, serious target shooting and pinning asses while blindfolded, right?

That’s kind of what author target marketing is all about. It’s a pretty simple concept, finding the target and shooting for it, even in the realms of marketing for authors, it seems so obvious it could be a no brainer, and guess what? I’m not here to tell you otherwise. It is a no brainer.

If you’ve written a murder mystery, you know your target. If you’ve written a paranormal romance, contemporary romance, erotic romance or gay romance, you don’t need to go far to find your target markets. If you’ve written a memoir, non-fic, how-to or cookbook, easy peasy, the target is clear as a bell. Everyone who markets anything on the planet can be fairly successful shooting for the obvious targets.

Today, we’re going to talk about finding, defining and aiming for deeper targets, the ones that have the potential to take your book and catapult it further than its competition. Ready? Seriously, are you ready? Because this process is not as easy as you might think. This requires peeling away a few layers of plot and character and skin and bone to find the untapped markets for your book that no one else thought about. But … there are a few rules.

Rule Number One – This is not something you can hire anyone to do for you. It’s not something your agent or publisher should already have in the can. It’s not something anyone can do LIKE you either. This may be the most personal thing you ever do as an author. And, it requires serious introspection.

Rule Number Two – You still must go for the obvious targets, keep your book platform and author platform active and alive while strategically pinpointing that deeper target and rifling for it.

Rule Number Three – If something doesn’t work, try again. If it still doesn’t work, look deeper. Hope you brought your diving gear. Here we go.

The best way to explain this kind of approach is to give an example. Let’s take a hypothetical book and plot. In the fiction, Anomalies Numbered, the protagonist has the unique job of counting and cataloging incongruities in nature; the odd earthquake where no earthquake has happened in recorded history; the single tree with golden leaves in the middle of summer and green leaves in autumn; the influx in requests for exorcisms over the past decade. The plot reveals a supernatural conspiracy against man orchestrated by either heaven or hell. The protagonist, we’ll call him Butler Blue, is a pragmatic man, a handsome man who doesn’t know he’s handsome, not a brave man, but a man about to uncover something that could prove him to be either a hero or a coward.

Where are your standard targets for Anomalies Numbered? Obviously anywhere supernatural fiction lovers are. Any vehicle those readers follow and frequent. Easy. You create your twitter list to target those readers, create hash marks and a strong following. You develop a book website that oozes supernatural adventure. You develop a book video to support the book and you create interaction with prospective fans either on FaceBook or interactive web programs. You develop and grow a hefty email list and you make sure everyone who is somehow touched by your efforts hears about your soon to be released book often. Simple. Everyone (smart) does it this way.

Now, let’s look for the not-so-obvious targets. Aside from readers who love supernatural adventures, who else would find Anomalies Numbered a fascinating, read? Going back to the basic plot, we have a few elements that could help locate these illusive deeper targets. The book seems to have three deeper targets.

  • People who love trivia and/or collecting strange occurrences. I used to have a friend, Joe Vaccarro, like that. He was a walking Trivia Game. Everything out of his mouth was interesting and entertaining. He lived to see the surprise on your face when he spat out bits of unimportant (to me) information, like the fact that a pig sweats through its feet. I thought Joe was unique among men. Not so. I’ve come across so many people like him. They fall under the category of people who love to play and win games … he who dies with the most trivia packed in their brain wins! Where do you find those people? Gaming groups? Information gatherer groups? They’re out there. They’re on line. There are thousands of them and they might be a powerful deeper target market for Anomalies Numbered. (Love ya, Joe!)
  • Skeptics and researchers. Protagonist Butler Blue is a skeptic and a research expert. Maybe in his adventures he belongs to a group of skeptics or is part of a collaboration of research experts who find new and unfailing ways of discovering truth. If the book is written from a pragmatic man’s point of view, maybe the author should research real life research groups and make friends. Since your plot exposes real and fictional natural anomalies, you’ll already connect with those people though common interest. Voila, another deeper target to enhance your obvious target. NOTE: those groups can also be a great resource for developing the discovery elements for your plot. ANOTHER REASON to begin building your book platform early, right?
  • How about good vs. evil? There’s a clear intent within the plot to extrapolate not only if the threat to man comes from a good or an evil source, but to also examine exactly what is good and evil. That sounds like a deeper target market to me. Imagine developing a website totally committed to that issue in connection with the events, real and fictional, in the book. A website called “Numbering Anomalies”, with an interactive area, embedded blog on anomalies discovered all over the world every day, and expansion on events taking place in the book. This creates another follower target altogether … another deeper target market.

These are just a few possibilities. No one knows your book like you do. You wrote it, you labored over it, you can feel it, page by page inside your soul and only you know the little nuggets of possibilities inside that manuscript.

I think a major focus for any one starting a novel is to identify the obvious marketing reader targets and as many secondary targets as possible AS SOON AS THE PLOT IS PLANNED! After that, you can keep your eyes peeled for other possible connections as you do the writing, and still others when you do your edits. The key here is to KNOW ALL YOUR TARGETS by the time you pitch the book to an agent. If you’ve written a great book AND know your targets, trust me, that agent is going to want to know you.


Author Success Coaching

Publicity Marketing Promotions


Author Success, A Well “Business Planned” Future

Lesson 1, But … I’m a Writer, Not a Businessperson

Lesson 2, Your Subject Hooks and Selling Handles

Lesson 3, How Long

Lesson 4, Author Platform and Book Platform