I woke up in the middle of the night a few weeks ago with a gasp. I scrambled to grab my phone and open up the notes section, bleating into my voice-to-text at 2 am.
I had been stuck. My book – which I started in February of 2015 – had been lying there dormant and stagnant for more than 8 months. There I was, cozy in my bed, snuggling my pillow, about to drift off to sleep, when I suddenly realized the reason why: I had been writing to the wrong audience. In fact, I had been trying to write to three different audiences at the same time. No wonder I wasn’t getting anywhere.
It suddenly became so clear, and once I distinguished the three separate audiences, my book opened right up. Now I could simply move content around accordingly.
I see a lot of authors make this same mistake; they are not a) clear who their ideal reader is, and b) writing directly to them.
You want to write as if you are sitting right across from them, eyeball to eyeball, sharing a cup of coffee. What would you say to them, and how would you say it?
Here is the best way I have found to get clarity on your Ideal Reader:
- Start by listing possible types of people and niche groups who could be most interested in your book and/or promoting your book. Who are the influencers you’d like to make a difference with?
- Who is (or who could be) your “perfect reader?” Write a clear profile and description. Be specific. The clearer you can get about your target reader, the easier it will be to write to them, the more your work will resonate with them, the more copies of your work will sell. Supply as much detail as you can in this area, such as:
- Demographics (i.e., age, gender, employment, income, etc.);
- Geographics (i.e., country, state, city, etc.);
- Psychographics (i.e., interests, culture, lifestyle, hobbies, buying history, associations they belong to, etc.)
Start out with general categories, say male between the ages of 35-50. Living in North America, married with 2 children. Distill that down. Pick one that represents that entire audience, the one that would be a dream client below.
- City, State, Country:
- Physical description:
- General appearance
- Buying history:
- Associations they belong to:
- Technographics: (Mac or PC user, early adopter, tech enthusiast or pessimist, etc.)
It will seem counterintuitive. The biggest mistake I see first time authors make is trying to write to everyone. Your book may benefit multiple audiences but it is basic law of attraction that if you write to everyone, you will end up attracting no one.
- What is bothering them right now, what is causing them pain?
- What are their top fears and frustrations? What gets them mad, gets them worried?
- What are their top wants and desires? What do they want – what is the outcome they are really after, and the end goal they think they want?
If you can nail these final three questions with certainty for your particular ideal reader, you can use the answers to write an entire book. Consider it your ticket to book freedom.