Finding Your Online Audience

Finding Your Audience Caren EstesenI found myself waxing nostalgic for the days when there were only a few categories to worry about as a writer. You either wrote literary fiction, commercial fiction, or some type of genre fiction (this was, even as a nostalgic look book, an incomplete look). Finding your audience was easy because your readers were narrowly defined. But I know I’m pining after something that doesn’t exist. Readers have always overlapped in their reading tastes. Now they have more choices to find books that appeal to them with category mash-ups to satisfy every craving. The trick is to understand who your audience is so that you can alert them to your book’s existence.

1. Define what you write. Even if you have a thriller with romantic elements (meaning a thriller that also features a romance) or a literary novel that features a mystery, the main focus of the novel is what your book is about. The thriller with romantic elements is still a thriller. The literary novel that features a mystery can safely lead as a literary novel.

2. Find the sites where your readers are hanging. These sites may not only be book sites. These might be social media sites, book review sites, and blogs. Hang back and see what readers are talking about. Find out what questions they’re asking. Find out what confuses them (this is something that I pay attention to; I forget that even writers don’t know everything about publishing–and neither do I). Then figure out how you can fit into this niche and get into the conversation. Remember, having a conversation doesn’t immediately mean walking up to someone and leading with what you write.

3. Use more than one technique. That may mean you’re subscribed to several blog feeds, have launched a few banners or gifs, and started engaging readers on review sites. That way you’re spreading your energies over a few methods.

Throw questions at me in the comments section about ways you can use to find your audience. I’m happy to give advice or just a shout out about great ideas!

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