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Judy Cullins
Book coach, author, speaker, internet marketer
La Mesa, California
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Know your Audience to Make your Book Stand Out From the Crowd

Book selling increases client growth when you know your audience before writing a word. Most authors say, "Everyone will want my book, and on Oprah, it will sell millions, and I'll make millions, too." Not exactly true.
Written Aug 02, 2009, read 1922 times since then.


Book selling increases client growth when the author knows his/her audience before writing a word. Most authors say, "Everyone will want my book, and when I take it to Oprah, it will sell millions, and I'll make millions, too."

Not exactly true. If you are writing a book you need to know your specific audience. This gives your book its unique selling point. Writing for your target audience focuses your writing and gives your book a great advantage because you know and can communicate your unique selling point. (USP). Now, your book will stand out from the crowd. Although everyone won't buy it, it will brand your business and will sell more copies because your targeted book buyers really want your message.

How do you know who your audience is?

The biggest mistake most authors make is that they don't write for their one preferred audience. If an audience is "everyone," the book doesn't have an angle. Without a focus audience, its chapter how to information isn't specific enough and doesn't hook. The more general audience books face big competition with other popular authors. The "Dummy" books have done well because they have one particular focus--beginners.

Know your audience inside and out through the "Audience Profile."

What do they look like? How old are they? Male? Female? Age? Baby boomers? Seniors? Entrepreneurial? Corporate? Are they middle or upper class? What kind of work do they do? What is their income? What do they spend discretionary time and money on? Where do they live? What books and magazines do they read? What values and attitudes are reflected by those books? What are their interests, hobbies, and values?

Are they Internet savvy? How much will they be willing to spend on your book? What challenges do they face that they want answers to? Are they business people, retired people, over 50? What radio shows do they listen to? What TV programs do they watch? What do they do with their free time? What events do they attend? What organizations do they belong to? What causes do they support?  What do they Google to find new information? What kinds of sites do they visit and bookmark? How many of them are out there to sell to? What do they want? Need?

Go to your library or Internet to research just how many people belong to your audience. Ask for the reference books that have census and other information. All agents and publishers will want this information from you to include in your book proposal.

Even if you publish this book yourself, do some market research. Research can help you with numbers: 45 million readers read new age books; 65 million baby boomers and 60 million seniors are out there. They buy online, too. Think of one segment of these groups you can write and market for: personal growth, newly divorced-age 50 and up; senior women creating a new career at 60; Baby boomer working mothers who want healthier food for their children.

By writing a book with an angle, you will attract your preferred audience because your whole book is devoted to answering its concerns or solving its challenges.

Learn more about the author, Judy Cullins.

Comment on this article

  • Intuitive Healer 
Seattle, Washington 
Karen Floyd
    Posted by Karen Floyd, Seattle, Washington | Aug 04, 2009

    Hi Judy,

    Thank you for emphasizing the importance of knowing your target market. My writing is for anyone who wants to embody more of their innate power and move forward in life with renewed vision. I think I can hear you saying this is not clear or focused enough, how will I find these people with these subtle values that aren't so apparent in everyday life. Angle is the word that stuck out for me while reading your article... I got it, having a specific identifiable audience tells me who I am writing for/to and that makes it easy to know what to say and how to say it! Thanks for the new angle Judy!

    Karen Floyd

  • Book coach, author, speaker, internet marketer 
La Mesa, California 
Judy Cullins
    Posted by Judy Cullins, La Mesa, California | Aug 05, 2009

    Hi Karen,

    Thanks for your comment. You said it right.

    Our books will attract far more of our best audience wih an angle! And that means specific audience. That's why how to book sell better than others. Your audience wants solutions and your book will be dry if you don't write each chapter to solve a partiular question. It's all in my book on Amazon "Write your eBook or Other Short Book Fast" and at my site too.

    I only wish professionals would get guidance before they sit down and write a book. Not many do, but the one's who do, sell a lot more books and get more clients.

  • Online writing assistance 
Holley, New York 
Michael Sadowski
    Posted by Michael Sadowski, Holley, New York | Aug 06, 2009

    hello Judy I use the following guidelines when writing. AUDIENCE ANALYSIS The audience of any piece of writing is the intended or potential reader or readers. This is a important consideration in planning, writing, and reviewing a document. You "adapt" your writing to meet the needs, interests, and background of the people who will be reading what you have written. The principle seems absurdly simple and obvious. It's much the same as telling someone, "Talk so the person in front of you can understand what you're saying." It's like saying, "Don't talk rocket science to your six-year-old." Do we need a course in that? Doesn't seem like it. But, in fact, lack of audience analysis and adaptation is one of the root causes of most of the problems you find in documents TYPES OF AUDIENCES Some common division of audiences are listed below. Experts: These are the people who know the theory and the principle inside and out. Executives: These are the people who make business, economic, administrative, legal, governmental, political decisions on the stuff that the experts work with. Non-specialists: These readers have the least amount background knowledge of all. AUDIENCE ANALYSIS
    It's important to determine which categories your potential readers of your document belong to. Background-knowledge and experience Needs and interests Other demographic characteristics More than one audience Wide variability in an audience Background-knowledge and experience One of your primary concerns is just how much knowledge and experience you can expect in your readers. Needs and interests To plan your document, you need to know what your audience is going to expect from that document. Other demographic characteristics There are many other characteristics about your readers that might have an influence on how you should design and write your document—for example, age groups, type of residence, area of residence, sex, political preferences, and so on. More than one audience. You're likely to find that your report is for more than one audience. Wide variability in an audience. You may realize that, although you have an audience that fits into only one category, there is a wide variability in its background. AUDIENCE ADAPTATION You've analyzed your audience until you know them better than you know yourself. What good is it? How do you use this information? How do you keep from writing something that will still be incomprehensible or useless
    to your readers? Add information readers need to understand your document. Omit information your readers do not need. Change the level of the information you currently have. Add examples to help readers understand. Change the level of your examples. Change the organization of your information.

  • human capital talent expert & coach 
Valparaiso, Indiana 
Leanne Hoagland-Smith
    Posted by Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Valparaiso, Indiana | Aug 06, 2009

    Karen, you are spot on. I invested close to 200 hours in the marketing of my first book, "Be the Red Jacket in a Sea of Gray Suits, The Keys to Unlocking Sales Success" before I ever started the outline. One thing you did not mention was the cover art. This is really critical piece within your overall marketing plan. My cover gets a lot of positive attention. View it here at Amazon:

    A couple of additional suggestions to consider:

    1. Write a series of books (3 to 4) around the same topic to the same audience to further brand yourself within your target market
    2. Look for a niche publisher as I did with
    3. Understand how to best use Amazon to market your book
    4. Determine the overall structure of the book specific to book size, size of font, style, graphics, the overall flow of the book, index, bibliography, number of pages, etc.
    5. Audience attention time - Can your book be read in 2 hours on an airline flight if it is a business book? Can it be read in short bursts for busy people?

    Thanks for some great advice.

  • Book coach, author, speaker, internet marketer 
La Mesa, California 
Judy Cullins
    Posted by Judy Cullins, La Mesa, California | Aug 06, 2009

    Thanks for your comments one and all.

    In chapter 3 of my print and eBook "Write your eBook or Other Short Book--Fast!" I show you how to know your "essential hot selling points" such as your preferred audience to write a more focused, compelling book.

    It'a a Dear Audience Letter. You write something like this:

    I know you are HERE with your particular challenge of xxx ( hook and empathy.

    I'm writing this book because I know you want xxx (benefits 2-4).

    These become your sparkling book introduction with a little tweaking.

    Look for more of my articles soon and thanks,

    Judy Cullins

  • Children Author, School Custodian,story teller 
Concord, California 
william sawyers
    Posted by william sawyers, Concord, California | Aug 06, 2009

    I know my target is 5 years on up, So I have to target parents, grand parents.

    Not that easy so I see.

  • Book coach, author, speaker, internet marketer 
La Mesa, California 
Judy Cullins
    Posted by Judy Cullins, La Mesa, California | Aug 06, 2009

    Thanks William.

    For children's books, you write for the child and promote to the parent as audience # 1. You can write articles and post on where I have many of mine. You will see categories there to help you submit.

    I also have a book on this.