Who do you write for and why? This may sound like a deep question, but I promise you it relates to book marketing.
In this post, I'm going to explain how knowing who you write for and why will help you improve your book marketing and sell more books.
Who do you write for?
Okay, so who do you write for? When you first sit down at your laptop or open that crisp new notepad, your writing might be for you alone and that's okay. Writing, like any creative activity, is personal and if you didn't feel drawn to do it, you might not bother, right?
But perhaps you're a non-fiction author writing a how-to or self-help book. You feel very strongly that you're writing to help someone learn something or overcome something. You know that person needs your help and you're very clear on who that person is.
Or maybe you're a fiction author who has been at this for a while. You always write with your readers in mind because you know all too well what your readers love to see in your books, and what they don't!
Contrary to what you may have heard elsewhere, you can write just for yourself. You don't always have to write with a reader in mind. If that's what brings out your best work, then do what you need to do. Write for you, write the book that's in your heart, that's fine. But once you get to the editing stage, you will need to start thinking about your target market.
Know your target reader
Knowing your target reader is hugely important for marketing, but you don't need to write your book with that person in mind. If you write just for yourself, you can still identify your target reader after you've finished writing. You can do this by thinking about why you write what you write and who would resonate with your motivations.
Knowing who you're writing for and why can help when the going gets tough. That tough patch could be during the writing stage. But it's almost certain to come up during the marketing stage. Knowing who you're writing for and why you're doing it is going to help you keep going.
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Why do you write?
After thinking about who you're writing for, let's think about why you're writing.
Although you can make a living from self-publishing, it's not the norm for every writer. Or there may be many lean years before your writing starts to pay off and you see a regular income from your books. So, it's best not to have fame and fortune as your biggest motivator.
As it happens, most writers that I know are not writing for fame and fortune. Authors are not usually motivated by money. They want enough money to be able to keep writing and this may be something that you can resonate with.
Perhaps you want enough money to be able to pay your editor and buy a professional cover. You want to put some money towards marketing too. In time, you may want to earn a living from your writing so that you can do it full time and quit your day job. It would also be nice to earn enough to make it feel like all the work was worthwhile.
But you're not anticipating fame or fortune.
What should your readers feel?
So if money and becoming a household name are not your biggest goals, why are you writing and publishing?
When thinking about your answer to this question, I want you to consider two things. Think about why you write for yourself. What is it that you want out of your writing and your publishing? And then think about your target reader as well. What do you want them to get out of your writing?
So think about what compels you to write, why you enjoy it, why you're doing it. Beyond making lots of money, what is the driving force behind your writing?
Then when you think about your readers, think about what you want them to feel. What do you want them to learn or understand after reading your book?
To be clear, this exercise is for both fiction authors and non-fiction authors.
For non-fiction authors, it's often easy to think, ‘I want people to know how to train their dog after reading my book about dog training'. But if you're writing fiction, there's usually an emotional need that people have when they pick up a fiction book. So what is it you want people to feel when they read your book?
If you were stuck on the previous question of who do you write for, thinking about why you write and what you want your readers to feel can help.
Communicate your value
When you understand why you write as well as who you write for, you can better communicate the value of your books. You'll also be able to articulate who they would appeal to in your marketing. That could be in an Amazon description, an email, or an ad.
So pull out a pen and paper and start journaling on who you write for and why you write. Feel free to get as deep as you like. And when you're done, let me know your takeaways! I would love to know how you get on with this exercise.
If you need a few more pointers on finding your target readers, figuring out who you're writing for and why then grab my free Target Readers Checklist.