Book Launch Success Secret #1: Clarify Your Book’s Purpose & Target Audience
Far too many Christian authors out there are desperately trying to launch their books, make a good impression, and build a following, but because they’re trying to figure it all out on their own, they’re running around like chickens with their heads cut off. If that sounds like you, don’t worry — you’re not alone.
In Part 1 of the Book Sales Success Secrets series, Coach Tam walks you through the first foundational piece you need to have in place before you launch your book: clarifying your book’s purpose by getting to know your target audience. If you want to launch your book successfully, you can’t afford to skip this vital step!
In this episode, you’ll also hear:
- 3 questions to help you clarify your book’s purpose
- How to figure out what your target audience really wants — and whether you can give it to them
- Why “there is no competition” is a lie, and how you can use that to your advantage
- Why figuring out who your target audience is and what they want must the first step you take before you move forward with your book launch
Be sure to read all the way to the end for a link to the book launch checklist and video training!
3 Questions To Clarify Your Book’s Purpose
Some people will tell you to just write what you feel. In other words, to write for yourself. But that’s bad advice! As a Christian author, you’re ultimately writing for someone that you want your work to impact. That means you must have a clear understanding of who exactly the book is for and why they would want to read it.
This information is absolutely critical if you want to have a successful book launch, because it will guide every decision you make, from what platform you use to launch your book to what marketing strategies you follow.
So how do you clarify your book’s purpose? Start by asking yourself the following three questions.
1. Are you writing for a specific demographic, or are you trying to publish a book to be read by all ages and backgrounds?
If you’re writing for a specific demographic or market segment — like young adults, for example — then your book launch plan needs to take that into account. You can’t launch a young adult book in a way that would appeal to someone who’s 50 or 60 years old, because people in those age groups aren’t looking for the same things. Your book launch strategy must be centered on ways that will make your target audience most likely to engage with your book.
Whoever your target audience is, you need to figure out where they are hanging out and where they usually get information on books.
- If you’re trying to reach teenage readers, you might want to organize something in a local high school or use social media platforms that teens are more likely to use (like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat).
- If your book is for business professionals, you might want to focus on podcasts, blogs, or online news magazines they’re already consuming. Or you might want to emphasize paid promotions on platforms like BookBub, Amazon, and Facebook, because that’s where they go for their information.
Ultimately, the key is to develop a book launch plan that takes into account the target audience you are trying to reach.
2. What are the needs and wants of your target audience?
As authors, we often have a particular mission and agenda that we want to accomplish with the book we’re writing. And that’s important, because God has given us that calling.
But just as we need to make sure we accomplish our own mission, we also need to take into account how human beings operate. And as humans, we’re always going to be more interested in what we want than what we need.
That means you’ve got to lead with what your target audience wants rather than what they need. Yes, of course you should give them what they need, but if you don’t give them some of what they want, they won’t be interested in what you have to say.
What problem or challenge does your target audience really want to overcome? And how can you tap into that with your book? What insights or information can you give that they will find valuable or interesting? By understanding what your readers are looking for, you can create book content and marketing that truly speaks to their desires.
For example, if you’re in the weight loss space, you might know what people need to do to lose weight. But what are your readers most interested in? Most likely, they want to know how many pounds they can lose and how quickly they can lose it — and how much they would have to give up to achieve that goal.
Think about it — if you tell them they can lose weight at a pretty good rate without having to give up everything they love, they’ll be excited to learn about it. But if all you talk about is the exercises they’ll need to do and all the things they’ll have to give up, they probably won’t want to listen.
Regardless of your topic, you must tap into what really matters to your readers. Only then can you create marketing content that resonates with them and entices them to not just buy the book, but read it and apply your God-given message to their lives.
3. What are some other books in your genre or topic area that your audience might also enjoy reading?
In other words, who is your competition?
Too often, we tell ourselves there is no competition. But when we actually do the market research, we find that it’s not exactly true. There are other books that speak to the same topic. Or, at the very least, there are other books out there that your target audience could view as a solution to their problem, even if they don’t cover exactly what your book covers.
Yes, your book might cover that topic in a fresh, new way. But remember, your target audience doesn’t know the ins and outs of your book. They don’t know you or your story. They don’t even know the message that God has given you! All they know is what they see online, in bookstores, and on the cover of each book they come across.
Everyone has competition. So one of the best things you can do for yourself and the success of your book is to acknowledge that fact up front and to really take a look at what other books your target audience might be considering. Then ask yourself how you can differentiate yourself from those other books.
For example, say you’ve written a book on women’s rights, and you want it to reach more people so they will support your mission for equal pay. There might be a lot of other books that someone interested in women’s rights would read. But within this broad topic, you’ll find different authors taking different, focused approaches like:
- Self-empowerment and personal transformation (e.g. how can you, as a woman, overcome challenges when the deck is stacked against you?)
- Social and political change (e.g. concrete strategies for effecting real-world change in the community)
- Specific aspects of social justice (e.g. gender equality or shedding light on the unique needs and perspectives of women within society)
In this example, each of these books is focused on the same type of thing — helping you have a level playing field as a woman and inspiring you to take action — but they’re all tackling it in different ways, because what resonates with one person may not resonate with another.
Now think about the person you want to reach with your message. What are they looking for? Is what you have to offer what they are looking for?
Here’s a quick tip: check out your competitors’ reviews. If there’s something about those books that people really like, and you also have that in your book, be sure to highlight that in your marketing. On the other hand, if there’s something people say they dislike about those books and you’re confident your book does it better, then highlight that as well.
Study your competition. Don’t believe the lie that your target audience is automatically going to perceive your book as uniquely different — it’s your job to convince them of that through your marketing.
Know Your Audience
Knowing who your target audience is and what their desires are before you launch your book is critical. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to launching a book, but when you don’t have a clear understanding of your target audience and why they should care about your story, none of the other pieces matter. So be sure to take the time to prepare this foundation before you move a single step further in your book launch plans.
Yes, a lot goes into launching a book, but if you take the time to follow the steps that we’ll continue to explore in the Book Launch Success Secrets series, you will be well on your way.
Ready to take the next step? Head over to the Christian Authors Network Facebook group. There you’ll get your hands on the perfect book launch checklist and video training. Then come back next week for Book Launch Success Secret #2!
My name is Tamara “Coach Tam” Jackson and I am a published author, Facebook© Certified Digital Marketer, host of the Top 100 Publishing Secrets podcast, and founder of The Christian Authors Network (C.A.N.) Facebook© community. I specialize in helping mission-driven authors, coaches, and entrepreneurs increase their exposure, impact, and income through strategic self-publishing and digital media appearances. Just say yes and we will work together to attract a tribe of loyal followers that 1) “get you”, 2) love what you do, and 3) are happy to invest in your book, business, cause, or movement. Plus, we will accomplish all of this without fake, salesy, sleazy, or manipulative tactics. Yes you CAN write, publish, and profit in a way that honors God; join the community today at https://christianauthors.net/fbgroup.
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