Who’s your reader?

With authors these days having to be the Chief Marketing Officer, Social Media Director, and the Promotions Guy, it’s easy to get lost in the “what can I do next?” storm of trying to sell your book. But here’s one of the most effective ways to market your book, and it doesn’t have a thing to do with Facebook, twitter or designing a kick ass website.

Who are you writing the book for? Who do you want your audience to be? For me, and for many authors, we write the books that we would like to read. Is that what you do? It’s easier for a novelist to write for themselves because novels are read for entertainment and we all like being entertained. But let’s say you’re a professor of archeology and you want to write a book for the beginning archeology student. You are not writing the book for you. How then do you write that book?

I once knew a professor who wrote her own book. In fact, it was my first college class ever and I walk into the classroom with her name in BIG LETTERS on the chalkboard. I knew I recognized that name. I saw it again when I pulled out my Econ 101 textbook and BAM!, there it was on the cover. She had written the textbook! I knew no amount of my BS would fool her. And it didn’t. I squeaked by with a B minus for the year. And that was a gift. But I was also able to have a pretty good relationship with her and talked to her about writing the book. She told me something I will never forget. “I picture myself as an 18 year old who doesn’t know a thing about economics, and take it from there.” Before I begin any book, I picture myself as my reader, which so far, means that I’m picturing myself. But whenever I write articles for the various newspapers I freelance for, or projects for which I provide copy, I picture myself as the person that is sitting down to read that article, or the person who is reading the information that I wrote for a sign in a park.

So, instead of “Who do you write for?”, maybe the question should really be “Who do you picture yourself as when you write?” 

As always, I’m taking the weekend off. I’m actually giving a presentation tomorrow on writing and book marketing at the Newark, Texas library at 11:00am. If you’re out that way, I’d be great if you could stop in and sit a spell. If not, we’ll pick back up next week with “viral organics.” Sounds yummy, don’t it? Until then… 

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,

Rest easy tonight my friends, but stay hungry tomorrow… 

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