If you want to sell more books, (and spoiler alert: we all do), you have to really know your reader. And the way you do this is by building a reader profile. Think of it as market research. What you learn from your reader profile will help you with your book marketing tremendously.
It’s critical for finding success as an author.
Your book is not “for everyone.” It’s also not for “all women between with hopes and dreams.” You’d be amazed at how frequently I hear this in my conversations with authors. But even more scary, is when they tell me, “I’m not sure who my readers are.”
While I 100% respect inspiration and a vision, and I personally know what it’s like to have an idea percolating for months or even years, you have to be realistic.
If all you want to do is publish a book, then you can stop reading right here. You don’t need a reader profile to get your book on Amazon.
But if you want people to buy your book and read it, reader profiles will show you how to find the right people, and through which channels.
And since we all are busy and don’t have endless hours to market our books, throwing idea after idea at the book marketing dartboard just isn’t practical. If this sounds like you, then read on to understand the primary benefits of creating reader profiles.
People are complex.
I just talked about how busy we are as authors. The same goes for your potential buyers.
In fact, most people don’t venture outside of their preferred genres. So if you write in a cluttered genre, or a genre with loads of sub-genres, you really need to up your game.
And, since how people feel about books and reading is personal, it follows that the way you reach people must be personal as well.
Reader profiles can help you sell more books because they make it possible to really personalize the experience a potential buyer has with your brand. This is what will make you stand out from the 4,500+ other books being published every single day.
Find out where to promote your book.
I’m a big proponent of you don’t have to be everywhere, you just have to be everywhere that matters. You’ve probably seen me say exactly this before.
Reader profiles can help you choose which social media platforms to use, or whether or not you’re reaching the right people. Social media, news media, and pretty much anywhere that caters to consumers and brands alike will have demographics available for the public.
Compare your reader profiles with the demographics for the most popular channels for book promotion and book discovery to see where you should really bother spending your time. Similarly, they will help you see where you might be able to cut loose some wasted effort.
Learn from your already successful competition.
A reader profile will help you identify what is working for other, more successful authors in your genre.
Part of learning about your potential buyers includes really having a solid understanding of their current reading preferences and what they expect your book to deliver on. This is huge.
I say this a lot because it’s true, success leaves clues.
So start watching authors who are already selling books to your target market, and seeing what they are doing to reach that audience. I promise, you’ll pick up a lot of solid techniques that you know resonate with the right people.
Highlight what makes you and your book unique.
A great reader profile will also help you see how your own work measures up to buyer expectations, but also what makes it stand out.
If you want to sell more books you’ll have to get better at convincing potential buyers that you have something special to offer them.
And while for non-fiction authors that usually means your book itself has to have a unique take and perspective on your topic, it gets a bit more complicated for genre fiction authors to find things in their story line that makes them unique – because let’s face it, your readers often choose books because they pretty much know what to expect, and they like it that way.
So if you’re writing fiction and struggling to find ways to stand out, look more toward your brand and your online persona to carry that weight.
A really solid reader profile will also help you brainstorm ways you can be different, as an author. And I don’t mean just your books here. I’m also talking about that online persona.
Really nail down and perfect your platform.
Building off what makes you and your book unique is the ability to fine-tune your author platform.
Reader profiles are like a sneak peek at who’s going to show up to a party you’re attending. And because you know who’s going to be there, you should have no problem wowing the crowd.
And while it should play into your social media posts, you should also use this valuable information to optimize your Amazon presence, your website, and certainly future book releases.
Let’s get to work.
Now that I’ve spent this whole article teaching you about why reader profiles are critical to your success as an author, it seems only fair that I should develop one to help you hit the ground running!
It goes without saying that the more you complete, the better you’ll understand your buyer market and your competition. But even if you skip some sections, what you do fill out will really strengthen your understanding of your buyer market and your competition.
After all, as an author, you should think of yourself as a business. And, realistically none of us would start a business without the proper market research.
As such, it’s really worth your while to put in the time now so that you can get ahead of the curve on your long-term success and reach as an author. I can’t wait to hear your experience with reader profiles, and how they help you!
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about her company and services, visit www.AMarketingExpert.com.