Who Wants to Read What You Write?

 

What kind of characters appeal to your readers?
What kind of characters appeal to your readers?

I STRONGLY BELIEVE that every author needs a game plan before the first word is hammered out on the page.

The secret to book selling in the indie/digital revolution is no different from book selling in the past. It’s placing your genre in front of people who want to buy novels of that genre.

Once we had bookstores.

They are falling by the wayside.

Once readers browsed the shelves of bookstores.

Now all we have are Amazon, barnesandnoble.com, iTunes, Kobo, and the like.

They make be our new universe of bookstores, but no one browses through their shelves in search of a good book. Readers know what they want to buy when they go online. All they want to do is find that book, make one click, and get out.

It’s vital for authors to find, isolate, and target those readers who appreciate the stories they tell well, then remain true and faithful to those readers.

Never herd up a group of fans, then wander off and forget them.

Lose them, and you’ve lost everything.

I believe that the problem facing a lot of writers these days. We think that all we have to do is write a novel, throw it out for Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, and thousands will find it. Sometimes it happens. Mostly it doesn’t.

I know there are exceptions – there always are – but it strikes me that most authors are simply writing novels without really taking the time to identify and define their primary market, then figuring out ways to reach the swarms of readers who make up that particular market.

Personally, I’ve had a change in heart.

Not long ago, Stephen Woodfin and I were talking to Bert and Christina Carson, and Bert made a point that I’ve been thinking about ever since. He said, “We need to be writing good, strong stories and targeting the over-fifty crowd. I believe those are the people who read and may like our novels.”

He was right. I had been approaching it all wrong. Instead of concentrating on a novel that I hoped would find a market, I decided that I would be better off targeting a specific market, then writing the kinds of books those people wanted to sit down and read.

The over fifty crowd made sense to me. I was part of it. I knew what I liked, and I had a pretty good idea about the stories appealing to that crowd as well.

A little romance.

Some intrigue.

Some suspense.

A mystery.

A murder or two, if necessary.

Strong characters.

A satisfying ending.

Maybe a little violence?

You be the judge.

Maybe a little sex?

Again, that’s your call.

Maybe a fantasy in a world you create?

Everyone is looking for an escape.

Maybe the future?

Maybe the past?

None of it matters.

Genre never matters.

The secret is finding those who can’t wait to read the genre you can’t wait to write.

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