So, what in the world is an Ideal Reader and why would you want one?
Your ideal reader, this unicorn, if you will, is the person who is going to adore your next book and tell all her friends about it.
Sound like a reader you want in your tribe? Read on, my friend.
Why it’s so important to identify your Ideal Reader
As a writer, your goal is to write an amazing book, right?
And if you want a career as an author, you need to get that book into the hands of readers.
One of the best ways to do that is to identify your ideal reader. Don’t worry, they’re not as mythical as a unicorn. In fact, today, you and I are going to figure out who your ideal reader is so that you can write them an amazing story and promote that story to them efficiently and effectively.
You see, figuring out who your ideal reader does two different things for you.
First, having that ideal reader in mind as you write gives you a target, if you will. Knowing her tastes, her likes and dislikes will be dynamite when it comes time to write your book.
Because if you write the type of book that she loves to read, how could she not rave about it?
And since you want a tribe, a fan club full of people who sing your praises, knowing who that ideal reader is will make it easier for you to get your work in front of her. Why? Because once you know who your ideal reader is, you’ll know where she hangs out, who her favorite authors are, how she finds out about new books to read, etc.
To top it off, you can tailor your brand to a target audience full of your ideal readers.
Sound awesome? I think so too.
How to identify your Ideal Reader
Find your niche.
What exactly do you love to write? What is it about your work that sets you apart? What makes you shine? What can readers grow to expect from you and your work?
Now go further. Dig deeper. Be specific.
Do you write nonfiction or fiction? If fiction, what genre? What sub-genre? Keep drilling down until you can identify what exactly it is that sets your work apart and what’s going to resonate with your readers.
As an example, let’s say you’re writing paranormal romance.
That gives us a genre of romance. And within paranormal you’ve got werewolves, vampires, other shifters. Keep narrowing it down.
If you only write about, say, werewolves, you’re well on your way to identifying your target reader, your target audience. Perhaps your stories are set in a modern era and humans know about their existence. Keep going. What else sets your work apart?
Maybe you write for young readers? New adult age? How about younger? Young adult?
Let’s keep investigating.
Once you’ve found that niche, pair it with other details about your reader.
So your reader is a fan of werewolf fiction, paranormal romance aimed at young adults. What else do you know about them? Go beyond basic demographics of age, gender, and location.
- What length of book does she prefer?
- Does she prefer eBooks or print or either?
- What is the average price point she’s willing to pay for a book?
- Where does she shop?
- What blogs does she read? Websites? Newsletters? Magazines?
- Who does she trust and listen to? Who influences her?
- Does she check books out of the library or does she buy?
- Is she only interested in freebies?
- How many books does she read a week?
- Is she on Facebook? Instagram?
How do you find out the answers to these questions?
You could guess.
You could answer them yourself, after all, you are a key component to who your ideal reader is.
You could also ask your readers. You have a mailing list, right? Right? Ask them! Ask on social media? Create a fun survey. Ask.
Put it Together
So whatcha got? Who is your ideal reader?
When you’ve answered the questions above, write up a paragraph on her. Think of it as your ideal reader’s biography. Or, if you’re like me and adore bulleted lists, create a list!
Your biography might look something like this:
She’s a voracious reader, reading three or four books a week. She’s on a first name basis with the folks at Barnes and Noble and she’ll pick up any book set in a small town or the Midwest. She has a handful of auto-buy authors, but she’s always searching for that next favorite author. Her ultimate jam is a series long contemporary romance that hops from one character to another, tying her up in a fantastical world of happily ever after. She loves following their journey for years to come and while she loves long books best, she’ll read short too. She hangs out online, hoping for a recommendation for her next Best-Book-Ever! And she’s signed up for at least a dozen mailing lists, from authors to publishers to BookBub.
If it would help, think of her as a personality on your favorite social media platform. What does her profile picture look like?
- Is it a picture of her bungee jumping?
- Is it a picture of her dog?
- Is it a cartoon of her favorite characters?
What does her bio say? Does she have tons of pictures of her at CosPlay? Or is her Pinterest account full of pictures of shoes and lipstick?
This trick is particularly helpful if you’re so new to this whole writing game that you don’t have many readers to cull answers from.
How to make the most of your new knowledge
Now that you’ve identified your Ideal Reader, you’ve established your target audience.
First, I recommend printing out your bio blurb or bulleted list and keeping it somewhere you can see it or reference it. What good is a target if you’re not looking at it?
Next, keep this ideal reader in mind as you’re planning your next book, and as you’re writing. When you hit a stumbling block, put yourself in the position of that target reader and ask “what would this reader enjoy?”
Then, consider your ideal reader as you brand yourself and your book. If you’re writing for that werewolf loving teen, your imagery, wording, cover art, and overall message should intrigue and appeal to them.
Last, when it comes time to engage with readers, go where your target audience is. Find them. Talk to them. Listen to them. Engage. Learn. Keep your name in front of your ideal readers.
Promote to Your Ideal Reader
So, you’ve figured out who your ideal reader is. And you’re writing a book they’re going to LOVE.
What’s the next step?
Get that fabulous book in front of those adoring fans.
Start by being where she is.
Does she hang out at book stores? Try getting bookmarks in small brick and mortar stores. Contact the bookstore and see if there’s anything you can do for them. Perhaps they have a monthly newsletter that needs content.
Does she follow other authors in your genre online? Start following those authors. Participate and start discussions about those authors books. Target those authors when you advertise on FB or Amazon.
Does she follow blogs? Guest blog. Ask the bloggers if they need anything. Offer to do a giveaway. Review a book or a movie for the blog. Comment on the blog’s posts.
Those are three ways, off the top of my head, for you to get in front of your ideal reader. What are some others? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!
So, to recap.
It’s a good idea to figure out who your ideal reader is so that you can target your work and your promotion to that type of reader. To determine who your ideal reader is, think about the people who currently read your books and then ask them some targeting questions. Once you have some answers, write up a blurb about the type of person who makes up your audience. And after you’re finished writing a book that your ideal reader will enjoy, go where she goes. Advertise in places she’ll see. Talk about books she likes to read. Engage with her on her home turf. And don’t forget to review and update who your Ideal Reader is over time.
An action movie buff with a penchant for all things supernatural and sexy, New York Times bestselling author Selena Blake combines her love for adventure, travel and romance into sensual contemporary romance and spine-tingling paranormal romance. Selena’s books have been called “a steamy escape” and have appeared on NYT Times, USA Today, Amazon and AllRomanceEbooks bestseller lists, been nominated for awards, and won contests. When she’s not writing you can find her by the pool soaking up some sun, day dreaming about new characters, and watching the cabana boy (aka her muse), Derek.
Catch up with Selena at http://www.selena-blake.com/
The men in Jillian’s life don’t stick around and she’s come to grips with that. Yet, when one week turns to two and Teo shows no signs of moving on, she can’t help but get her hopes up.
Teo just got out of long, committed relationship with the military. He has no intention of settling down, no matter how delicious Jillian tastes.
Except… maybe it’s his retirement or perhaps the holiday cheer, but he can’t get the curvy, brunette coffee shop owner out of his head. And he did promise her a fling…
Lucky for her, a SEAL never does anything half-assed, especially when it comes to making a woman scream with pleasure.
Toying With Her SEAL first appeared in the Seven Naughty SEALs bundle in 2015.