Most of the 7+ billion people on this planet will never read your book. And that’s OK.

That means you can free yourself up to write for the subset that really needs it. Your target reader.

So, as you consider writing a book (or, if you currently have a work in progress), let’s pause to sketch out the likeliest buyers. The ones who already need what you have to offer. The ones to whom you can uniquely speak, with authority and some level of value.

My Reader Looks Like This

What is your core demographic? Are you trying to reach women executives? Senior sales people? Digital Marketers? Uber drivers? College students? Political revolutionaries? Realize that there are a thousand sub-groups in the population that won’t care a whit about your subject; but, there are a few magic slices of the population who care deeply, and they are the ones that will eagerly read and recommend you.

What is their gender? Their position/state in life? What transitions or troubles are they going through? Where do they live? How do they consume media (including books)? What is their tolerance or hunger for, say, extended research vs. simple storytelling? You could launch a book at nobody/everybody called, “Everyone’s Guide to Success“; but you’re more likely to attract a specific audience when you target older executives with, “Finishing Well – Nailing Your Last 5 Years Before Retirement.”

When Dan Schawbel began his blogging/writing career, he didn’t go after everybody. He saw an up-and-coming demographic, the Millennials (of which generation he was a part), and focused on them. The core principles he wrote about could be more widely applied, of course; but he knew he could more easily reach, and thrive in, a defined niche.

As the old saying goes, “there are riches in niches.” So whether your most likely buyer is a PR pro or a doomsday prepper, choose your target and don’t try to be a jack-of-all-readers.

ADVICE: Craft a single-sentence summary of your ideal (bullseye) reader and share it with others to QA-test your thesis. Then post it by your computer as you write.

My Reader Feels Like This

In our data-driven culture, it’s easy to forget the very human reality of feelings. But we all know that emotion is what drives action. So, as we write, we want to continuously put ourselves in the shoes/mind/heart of our prospective readers.

Writing a book on how first-time authors can write a book? Call to mind the yearning to get a message out; the terror of possibly failing in a very public way; the confusion of navigating the complex publishing world. Talk directly about imposter syndrome. Don’t just write a sterile overview like “Book Publishing in 2019” – write about “becoming an author without losing your mind, your message, and your nerve.”

By nature, I am very analytical. Writing at a heart level is a conscious effort. I suspect that women may have a very unfair advantage in this department, and I anticipate growing success for authors who can more naturally weave empathy and EQ into their writings.

One of the greatest standing opportunities in front of every author is simplification and crystallization. Because we live within an information tsunami, and no matter who our audience is, they probably all feel one very common emotion: confusion. The writer who makes sense of stuff and clears it up has a winning formula. Many business books have valuable material, but they are too dense – they need a serious layer of simplicity editing.

ADVICE: Using hashtags, sketch out the 3 or 4 most powerful feelings that are driving your audience. Then, as you write, be sure that your sentences are addressing those felt concerns (not just spewing facts).

It’s true in every endeavor of business – everyone is not your customer. Achieving clarity as an author includes aiming at a well-defined target. The pain, the problems, the feelings – that’s what gets people to buy your book.

For Further Reading

Writing a Book? Start with this P and that P.

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