When to Define Your Target Audience

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February 24, 2013 | 2 Comments

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By Karen Baney

Excerpt from 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success by Karen Baney


Have you ever had this conversation with another author?

“Who do you want to buy your books?”


Unfortunately, it is not possible to market your book to everyone.  Well, maybe you could if you had unlimited resources and time.  For the rest of us, we have to define a target audience.

Success Tip:  Defining a target audience before writing the first word of your book helps you understand how, when, and where to market your eBook.  It also helps your writing stay focused to your intended audience.

For example, my book “Nickels” is a contemporary romance novel written with a snarky voice.  Before I wrote the first word, I decided my primary target audience would be women ages 25 – 40 who like chic lit.  Although it is not a cookie-cutter chic lit book, the voice of the main character fits well in that genre.  Because I know my primary audience is probably somewhat technically savvy (i.e. they know what a smart phone is and they use a computer daily), I was able to describe my main character using a hands-free phone adapter in her car without having to explain what it is.

So, how would “Nickels” be different if I were writing for a different target audience?  What if my target audience was women ages 70 – 80?  Chances are I would have to explain what a hands-free device is and why anyone would want to use it.  In reality, “Nickels” would make a terrible book for that demographic, because the main character is a software engineer.  I would have to explain the technology in the book so much that it would completely detract from the story.

What are some ways to define a target audience?  The example above used gender and age.  Other ways to define a target audience include:

  • Gender
  • Age group (children, young adult, new adult, adult)
  • Age range (21 – 35 years old)
  • Religion
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Socioeconomic status (education, occupation, middle class, etc.)
  • Geographic location
  • Hobbies and interests

The list could go on and on.

Know your audience.  Use that knowledge through the writing process.  Then when it comes time to select a genre, you’ll have a better idea where the book fits and you’ll know who to market to when the book is finished.


Learn more about pricing, distribution, and the other keys to book marketing success in Karen’s new book for authors, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success.  Now available on Amazon.


Best-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.


Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


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