Write for Your Market to Ensure Your Book Sells

Profiling your idea reader helps you blog a better bookWelcome to National Book Blogging Month 2013! Here at howtoblogabook.com, your April challenge is to blog a book in 30 days, and that’s no April Fool’s Day prank. Some of you may be familiar with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or a similar event I host called National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo), also know as Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN). All of these writing events encourage you to start and finish a book in a month. National Book Blogging Month (NaBoBloMo) is no different.

However, I realize that most of you blogging a book have the goal of building readership—author platform—for your book over time. Thus, blogging a book in a month may not work well for you. So, I’ve got three options you might want to try instead:

  1. Blog a short book in 30 days. If, for example, you have not yet created a book to give away as a way to entice people to sign up for your mailing list, April is a great time for you to do so. Or you could simply blog a short book that supports your current book, like a work of nonfiction that spins off from your fiction and allows you to speak on that topic as an expert.
  2. Blog the first draft of your book in 30 days, and then revise and publish (or schedule) later. This is a great option for those who feel they don’t have time to post as often as necessary to build readership.
  3. Learn to blog a better book in 30 days. Utilize the lessons I will provide in these next 10 posts to improve your book and your writing—and the effectiveness of your blogged book.

Or, put two of these suggestions to use! And you’ll blog a better book in 30 days. Woot woot!

Of course, I’d love it if you blog a book in a month, and, please, tell me about it if you do.

Okay, let’s move on then to NaBoBloMo Lesson #1.

How to Blog a Better Book: Lesson #1

When I begin working with new blog-to-book coaching clients, one of the first tasks I have them complete involves determining the size of their books’ markets. Most writers simply want to begin writing their books, but this is a mistake. You have to know your audience and, more important, if one exists. You don’t want to go to the effort and expense of writing a book and publishing it only to discover you have no market. That would mean no one wants to purchase your book.

Do You Have a Market?

Traditional publishers require a “Markets” section in a book proposal for just this reason. They want to know the actual size of the market you plan to target with your book. If the market is too small, they will turn down the project.

In a proposal you can’t say you are writing your book for “people like you,” or “all the people who like dogs,” or “all the people who enjoy thrillers,” or “the many people who are involved in social media.” You need actual numbers.  For example, if your book is aimed at dog owners, you might say that according to the Humane Society of the U.S. there are approximately 78.2 million owned dogs in the United States and 39 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog. Another good statistic: On average, dog owners spent $248 on veterinary visits (vaccine, well visits) annually. These figures show that you have a large pool of potential readers for your book that tend to spend money on their interest—dogs.

Before you blog your book, you want to know your market size as well–or if you have one at all. So you need to do the same type of research. It’s easy enough to complete with a Google search in most cases.

Create a Reader Profile

Once my clients know a market exists for their books, we explore the individual readers for those books more fully. You’ve probably heard the advice: Write for your reader. It’s good advice, but this requires that you know something more about the people who make up your market.

At this point I ask my clients to create a profile of their average or ideal readers. In the example above, it would be the average dog owner. What do they like to do? How many dogs do they have? Where do they hang out? What do they spend money on? What are their concerns? What problems or questions do they have? How old are they?

You might discover that most dog owners are in their 30s, have at least two dogs, are professionals, enjoy outdoor activities, but are also inclined to be involved in online networks. So you write a description.

The description above is fiction. I guessed at the facts about the average reader of a book about dogs, except for the owning more than one dog part. You can do the same and create a fictional profile. You can simply describe your ideal reader as you imagine them. Or describe one that already reads your blogged book. Include why they might read your blog—what benefit do they get out of doing so? Why does it interest them?

You could also check out some forums or groups on line that interest the people who would read your blogged book. Find your real readers and discover who these people are. Then build a profile based on what you learn.

Darren Rowse, co-author of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income, has a great post on how to create a reader profile.

Write for Your Reader

Once you have a profile written, you can then write your blogged book with this reader in mind. You can let the picture of your ideal reader inspire and inform your blogged book content in each and every post. In fact, before you ever write a word you can use this information to plan out the best book possible—one that will best meet your readers needs and interests.

How do you do this? You identify the problems, questions and needs of your readers and address them in the chapters of your blogged book and then in every post that fills out those chapters. You do it by creating a story that would interest and intrigue your ideal readers. You create a manuscript in post-sized bits as you blog your book for your readers. You do it by blogging your book to target your market.

In this way, you don’t produce a blogged book manuscript for just anyone—or just for yourself. You write a blogged book that targets your market and the potential readers in that market. You address their needs and interests, thus ensuring your print book or ebook sells when you land a traditional publishing deal or self-publish.

Image credit: winnond / 123RF Stock Photo

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