Day 21: Demographic Who?

Photo: Lars Ploughmann (Creative Commons Flicker)
Buyers, buyers everywhere! But how to connect? Photo: Lars Ploughmann (Creative Commons Flicker)

So yesterday I mentioned that indie or not, book promotion is all on the author. This is my cue for sighing and hand-wringing. On the other hand, advertising is a skill like any other, right? Meaning that promotion–smart promotion–can be learned.

The secret to effective sales is identifying the market. Who is buying my books? Today’s prompt wants to know, right down to the tiniest detail. And so do I.

Because the alternative is to bombard social media with continual “Buy My Book!” posts. Ah, but I can be taught. Social media is not like the captive television audience of my youth, when we were forced to watch commercials. These ads feel right because they are familiar, but on the Internet they do not work.

There’s so much information out there that people have become adept at ignoring it. And repetitious ‘book-begging’ ads on Twitter or Facebook push the ‘ignore thing’ into becoming an ‘irate thing.’ With a tap, the problem is solved. The irritating author is unfriended or unfollowed.

Juliana Dacoregio (Creative Commons Flickr)
Ah, book love! Oh to stay up late with a good read! Photo: Juliana Dacoregio (Creative Commons Flickr)

Works for me. But for the now-unfollowed author? Not so much. So I need to figure out who my buyer is, and then present my books in a non-annoying way. And then, if she likes them, perhaps she will put in a good word with her friends on social media…

It’s more than demographics, it’s (wait for it) psychographics! Meaning a customer profile based on personality, tastes, values, opinions, lifestyle, interests, quirks, and fears. (I like the shared fears part best. “I hate rats! Buy my book!”)

Photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões (Creative Commons Flickr)
I think of my books as fun beach reads. With something to think about too. Photo: Pedro Ribeiro Simões (Creative Commons Flickr)

So I write the kind of books I like to read. Am I marketing to me? Someone who is overworked, overweight, and over-committed? Looking to escape all that in bookland?

So here is what I like:

  • A good book, please. Fun and confident and sparkling smart, with an ending that delivers.
  • Flinch-free, too. A character getting his just deserts is fine, and so is sad or tragic. But flat-out embarrassing isn’t funny. If I squirm, the book gets closed.
  • Same with a sex-as-the-sole-plot-driver story. Because falling in love is about so much more. Like, a meeting of the minds? (Which is harder to write, because as the reader I must fall in love as well.)
  • Human, not perfect, characters that I can love. Or love to hate.
  • Camaraderie with a smattering of snark.
  • A hero or heroine realizing that they are more than they thought.
  • Something to do with disguise or the unknown.
  • An adventure, but believable too. I want to be swept away without something clanking.
  • A happy ending or a mystery solved, something noble gained.

And here are readers I’m targeting for my new Darcy novel:

  • Lovers of ‘traditional Regency’ (comedy of manners) and historical romance
  • Those who enjoy Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer, Elizbeth Gaskell
  • Fans of period movies
  • Women who would love to be the witty Elizabeth Bennet–they are everywhere, from all walks of life!
  • Lovers of the noble (and wealthy) Mr. Darcy. Which would be, like, everyone
  • Those who follow (and sigh over) the Austen movie hero hunks (Firth, Macfadyen, Hinds, etc.)
  • Women looking to be swept away by a winsome ‘book boyfriend’

As you can see, my demographic list needs refining, but this is a start. More thinking ahead for me, especially as the book launch draws near.

Then again, there is the Twilight series, books written with teen and YA readers in mind. Who knew that gals my age–mothers of the intended audience–would be caught up in the sweep of vampire romance? So you never know.

Like surfing the perfect wave, mass appeal remains a mystery and an enticement. I can only be out there with my board (my books), working and ready to ride. And the right demographic helps me be at the right beach…

RiseoftheMachines_KristenLamb_FullCover_FinalFor more on social media, I highly recommend Kristin Lamb. Her Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World is excellent, and so is her blog.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Time is a precious commodity, and I appreciate being included in your day. Links to other challenge participants’ blogs are here.

5 thoughts on “Day 21: Demographic Who?

  1. “Who knew that gals my age–mothers of the intended audience–would be caught up in the sweep of vampire romance?”

    So much this. There’s a lot of science that goes into marketing… and then there’s the human element, which is entirely random. LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know, Shanan, right? The surfing image is perfect. We’ve got to be out there, treading water and ready, working hard and on the watch, for that wave. Because the “luck” element to the Next Big Thing is huge. But if we’re not in the water, we miss it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That demographic prompt was tough. It took me, like, four hours to come up with the final version of the article.

      Still, it is a topic I must think through, as it has to do with promotion. The challenging part is to link my work to that of other, more popular authors. So I’d tag people who “like Stephen King” if I wrote horror, for example.

      Historical fiction should probably be Historical Romance, as opposed to contemporary. I shake my head over that label too, because my books are not mainly about romance. Ah well. 🙂


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