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Finding your audience

Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Tandrel, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Tandrel

    Tandrel Dreamer

    Hi fellow authors, writers and devotees of the written word

    I have a question: How did you find your audience?

    And perhaps even more important: what is your primary audience?

    I'm narrowing my project to these three persons at the moment,

    1. Someone who loved reading (not just watching the movies): Harry Potter, LOTR and Game of Thrones (they hate/love GoT because it's too violent and misogynic)

    2. Someone who actively works for the protection of our planet, clean water and air, reforestation, and who also knows the importance of stories that promote these ideals

    3. Someone who enjoys reading about spiritual journeys, like "the Alchemist"

    If you have any ideas where I can find these persons in the great digital ocean, let me know:=)
  2. Butterfly

    Butterfly Auror

    Your audience is the people you hope your writing will appeal to. But, you won't find them. They'll find you, so you need to make yourself as visible as possible. That means getting only your best work out there and it being seen and noticed.
    Malik, Rkcapps and Tandrel like this.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Ayup. What Butterfly said. Do you really think a painter waits to find out who likes landscapes with furry bunnies, but who also likes grindhouse? Do you think musicians don't perform until they find the right bar or club?

    Art first. Audience second. It's alphabetical, my dear Watson.

    And anyway, you don't want to find an audience. You want to find an agent, who will find a publishing house. Or, you want to select a self-pub platform.

    Actually, despite the self-righteous foregoing, you actually can start finding an audience, but only if you start by looking for comrades. You want to find people who are like-minded. Mythic Scribes is one place to look, but there are groups at Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, other forums, and so on. It will take many, many hours, but what you want to do is to find communities, join them, participate in them, make yourself valuable and interesting to them. Share with them. Learn from them. Support them. Argue with them and agree with them and praise them and help them. And thank them. Often.

    That's your audience.
    Rkcapps and Tandrel like this.
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    So, a few things.

    - Where are you with your writing? If you're early in your first book, you may be overthinking it for the moment. You need to develop your voice, figure out who is responsive to it, and then adapt to better appeal to those individuals. If you're in the final drafts of your third book, finally confident you have something worth putting out there, and you're wondering how to promote it - that's where this question belongs. Before you find your audience, you need to find your voice.

    - Typically, there would be layers to your audience. Your primary audience may be one group of people. Your secondary audience is another. Hopefully you can safely add a third audience: "and anyone who enjoys a good (fantasy) book." It sounds like your primary audience is "fantasy readers with a green thumb," and your secondary audience is "anyone who wants to read more spiritual journeys like the Alchemist."

    Now let's say you show your book to 1,000 fantasy readers.

    - 100 of whom have a green thumb, and your book catches 5 of them, or 5%.
    - 50 of them enjoyed the Alchemist, and your book catches 3 of them, or 6%.
    - Your book also catches less than 1% of the other fantasy readers, or 8 of them.

    Showing your book to 1,000 fantasy readers made 16 sales, half of them from the general fantasy audience just because there's so many more of them than your target audience.

    You see, the goal of a target audience isn't to limit your audience but to expand it. There will be some people with a green thumb wherever you can find fantasy readers. There will be people who enjoy books like the Alchemist. You just need to let those individuals know that your book is what they're looking for while you speak to all kinds of fantasy readers. And more importantly, you can get them talking about your book to those very same readers to help you out.

    So don't see having an audience as something that limits the people you want to share your book with (although you do want to focus on readers, particularly in your genre, because you don't want to waste your time). Instead, having an audience is something that helps readers understand that your book is the one they're looking for.
    Rkcapps and Tandrel like this.
  5. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    This is going to sound annoying but...finding your audience takes incredible time, patience, and really hard work. Be prepared to write a lot. Like, a ton. Put your work out there for the world to see. Start with writing a good story. Get good at storytelling and work on the clarity of your prose. Discover who you are as an artist. Share your work with the world via blogs, or Wattpad, or eventually publishing if that's where you'd like to be someday. Connect with your fellow writers/authors, keep moving forward, find a process that's akin to you, and most of all have fun.
    Tandrel likes this.
  6. Tandrel

    Tandrel Dreamer

    To all of you, WOW! This is such a mindblowing response. Bowing gratefully for all your help!

    This passage from you Devon was exactly the piece of advice I needed right now.

    I'm currently at the fifth revision of my first book. I've got some chapters on the second book and a large chunk of chain-plots, characters, civilizations and ecosystems on the third, fourth and final installment in the series. This winter I found the two key persons I've been looking for: an amazing illustrator who's done some epic showcase work and an excellent editor. So I decided to launch my Kickstarter just a week ago to test the waters and see what kind of waves will reach the shore.

    I'm feeling hopeful after getting such great feedback here!
  7. Lucas

    Lucas Troubadour

    Sounds like me, though I dislike Harry Potter.
  8. buyjupiter

    buyjupiter Maester

    I've been struggling with this question for the last couple of years, in subbing to short story markets.

    Since I've started doing youtube videos for my hobby, I put the short stories that never sold/never will sell at the end of those videos.

    So my audience is three people who watch youtube cross stitch videos. :D *mutters* I ain't never gonna sell anything at this rate.
  9. oenanthe

    oenanthe Minstrel

    one of the fortunate things about writing SFF is that we still have a short fiction market. if you want to audience build for your novels and you write SFF of any kind, I urge you to write short fiction and sell it to the best markets available. After a long break from the short fiction game, I find myself writing short stories while I wait for my (glorious, wonderful, deeply insightful) editor to get back to me with his feedback.


    1. Read short fiction. There's very little point in writing short if you're not keeping up on market tastes.
    2. Write short fiction. Set a goal, like "one short story a month" and then follow it. When you're having problems with your novel, take the day off to explore short fiction.
    3. percolate, revise, and edit your work. don't just slap together a bit of flash and send it out the door. You need your short work to be stunning. good isn't good enough. there are a lot of people, including award winning professionals, writing short fiction. You have to shine.
    4. send only to the best. That sort of means the best paying, but there are a number of paying markets that don't quite meet SFWA standards that are still worthwhile. Don't ever settle for less. if you run out of high paying or high prestige markets for a story, stick it in the trunk and forget about it.
    5. Do not give up. critical mass on short stories is 50 subs per editor. that's 50 stories. This is obviously not a short term plan. You will not sell the first short story you write. (*coughs* usually.) You *might* sell the tenth. Short Fiction is its own art, but the skills you learn writing short will transfer to writing long.

    You *can* sell a novel without short fiction sales, but agents told me that they paid more attention to my sub because I had SFWA qualifying pro sales. But this is also helpful if you plan to go indie, because sales to short fiction markets drive referrals to your backlist, your website, and your offerings on Amazon.

    Honestly, I'm a little surprised nobody mentioned it already.
    Michael K. Eidson likes this.
  10. iamelmo1

    iamelmo1 Dreamer

    Your audience will find you, the music is in the words and as with music people tend to get attracted to the kind that gives them enjoyment.
  11. iamelmo1

    iamelmo1 Dreamer

    Never looked at it that way, good advice.
  12. Danskin

    Danskin Acolyte

    I think it's good to have an "ideal reader" in mind as you write - and you seem to have that. Beyond that, it's a matter of marketing, so that you have visibility to the right sort of people. Knowing similar books is helpful, as ads can be targeted on Amazon etc for when people search for those books.

    A giveaway can also help a lot. If you have a short story that you can give away for free or perhaps get into a compilation, so that readers who like other authors similar to yourself might discover your work too.

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