The single hardest thing in any business is getting people to know you exist. And in this business, it can be very difficult indeed.
There were (on a researched guess because stats are hard to find) approximately 2,000,000 books published last year world-wide, including self-publishing.
That’s a whole lot of books.
Add to that, that most book purchases are impulse purchases, and without a powerhouse distributor behind you to ensure your book is in every bookstore, drugstore, airport and Walmart in the country, it becomes very easy to be lost in the clutter.
So how do we get noticed?
Your Target Audience
The writer in me always imagines either a group of people sitting in front of a stage wearing t-shirts with a series of coloured, concentric circles on them, or a large group of people staring eagerly at an archery butt. Both are wrong, though the first one is pretty close:
A writer’s target audience is the group of people most likely to buy that writer’s books.
This is one of the reasons many writers stick to one genre. If you’ve done fairly well with your gritty, realistic detective dramas, chances are your audience isn’t necessarily going to enjoy the fantasy romance with the beautiful magical princess you’ve just written.
(And vice-versa: never underestimate the selling power of the fantasy romance with a beautiful magical princess).
There are ways around this, of course. J.K. Rowling writes her detective series under a different name. Other authors who work across genres do the same. Some write across genres and work hard to make sure each audience knows what they’re getting, which takes some work, but can also yield good results, though it may drive their agent/publisher insane.
“My Book Appeals to Everyone!”
No. It doesn’t.
No book appeals to everyone, and thinking that yours does means that you are going to be wasting your time and your money marketing to the wrong people, and will probably sell a lot fewer copies than you would otherwise.
Take the time to define exactly what genre your books are in.
My first three novels (Small Magics, Cold Magics and in April 2015, True Magics) are Fantasy Genre, and would be considered either New Adult or Young Adult.
By way of comparison, my new series (under development), is Young Adult, Horror, Ghost Stories, Historical (Victorian).
The more specific you can be about what sort of book you have written, the easier it is to find the sort of people who want to read it.
Speaking of which…
Next Week: Reaching Your Target Audience (without being creepy)