I've been thinking about this topic lately because I have a book coming out this fall that will be the second in my female bodyguard agency series. I'd like to do more targeted marketing instead of my usual scattershot approach. A significant number of readers enjoyed the first book in the series (note: I said enjoyed, not purchased. Big distinction). I'd like to get the word out to them about the second book on the off-chance they might actually buy a copy.
Like you, I've read innumerable articles about book marketing that advise, "find your readers and market to them where they hang out." Great! But you have to figure out who they are first, and that's no easy task. Very few of us are lucky enough to have well-attended booksignings or participate in large reader events where dozens of readers come up and tell us about themselves. So how do we identify them? The members of my mother's book clubs always enjoy my books, but does that mean my readers are largely in their eighties? Possibly, but I doubt it.
I've received a few emails from readers over the years, but not enough to give me much insight. I decided to turn to my reviews--might as well get something useful out of them. Since almost 20K people downloaded UNWRITTEN RULES during its free days three years ago, I was lucky enough to get a large number of reviews. I decided to read back through them looking for any useful data. Most of the reviews said basically the same things. Here are some common threads:
- Enjoyable, fast read; good pacing
- Appreciated the lack of off-color language and graphic sex
- Successful suspense plot
- Fun and enjoyable characters
To me, these suggest busy, fairly conventional people looking primarily to be entertained. I can definitely relate to that.
Two reviews stood out for me for different reasons:
"Absolutely brilliant book. Lost myself in it for hours. Hope there are,ore like this in the pipe line. We'll done for a really riveting read."
"This is a fast pasted novel that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I started reading and could not put it down. I ended up reading threw the nite and my shift was a 15 hr one."
The first review is from a man. I was very surprised by the number of men who read this book and enjoyed it--probably due to the legs on the cover. This might mean I should look beyond the romance community for more general readers. Book Bub would be the answer there, if I'm able to get the book accepted.
I think the second review may define "my reader"--someone who works hard and is looking for a diversion to lighten her load. If I can help someone else get through a 15-hour night shift, I've done all I set out do as a writer.
But where do these readers hang out online? My best guess would be Facebook. They also might get emails from bargain book recommendation sites. I'm not young and hip, and I doubt my readers are either, so I'd be surprised to find them mainly on Twitter or Instagram. For this new book, I'm considering trying a sponsored Facebook ad or two. Does anyone have experience with them? Ditto for FB readers groups--any positive experience there? If so, which ones? What other venues have you tried?
Remember, we're all in this together, and I'd do it for you.