Friday, March 26, 2010

Writer Biz #9 – What’s A Target Market?

Now that you’ve set your goal and come up with a time line, you’ll need a target market. Preferably more than one. Let’s keep it simple for now, and you can expand it on your own later.

When marketing types work their magic, they use what’s commonly referred to as market segmentation. It’s a complicated way of saying they divide us up into groups by different variables.

The groups can be (notice, I said ‘can be’ NOT ‘must be’.) divided by demographic areas, geographic areas, psychographic areas, and behavioral areas. Still clear as mud? Let’s go a little deeper.

Demographic areas – these are based on variables such as age, gender, education, occupation, and income.

Geographic areas - are based on regional variables such as region, climate, population density.

Psychographic areas - are based on variables such as values, attitudes, and lifestyle.

Behavioral areas - are based on variables such as usage rate, price sensitivity, and brand loyalty. And yes, as an author you are a brand.

Once the segments are decided upon, they are usually profiled. (Not in a bad way.) In other words, a description is written for the segment and it’s given a name which represents the area which will be one of the targets for the marketing plan.

Sounds awful business-ey doesn’t it? Don’t worry. It’s really just a way to help you narrow your focus, so you can achieve your goals. The above list is to make you aware of things you may not have thought of when trying to figure out who your target market is.

I hear you, I hear you, already. “Readers, readers by books!!” “My profile is readers, you dummy.”

Yes, that’s true. But not all readers have the same taste in stories, so to make your plan more effective, let’s narrow it a little more. How about your existing readers for one segment. Perhaps prospective readers for another. Here’s an example of how the profile would look:

1. Existing readers – people who currently read my books.
2. Prospective readers – people who haven’t read my books but might read them based on the fact that they read another authors work which is similar to mine.

If you think about it, you can probably come up with a couple more. Give some thought to others in the book world who may be able to influence the sales of your book. They can be a considered a segment as well.

Remember, the better you define your target markets, the more effective your marketing plan will be.


  1. What's that you say? Not EVERY reader is my target audience? Huh. Well, my mom likes it so I kinda figured everybody would... :) Believe it or not, LPI gets queries where the author will state that it's a book "everybody will love". LOL. Nice to feel so confident about one's work, but... really?
    Excellent post, woman.

  2. Oh, and I forgot to add, my dh recently got quite offended when he told me my next book sounded boring and didn't interest him at all (note HE ended up offended, LOL) so I replied, "well, that's OK. You aren't exactly my target market."
    "Well, that's real nice."
    Heh. As if every book written should be aimed directly at him.