Identifying my Readers

DeathtoStock_Clementine9smI was super excited the other day to see that Janice Hardy had posted the next step in developing an author business plan: identifying your readers. This is a part of the process I’ve always struggled to formalize… I know I write for young adults interested in history who also want to be entertained, but what else do I need to know about them?

Gender and Age Range

Janice emphasizes this is the gender and age range most likely to read my books. I think there are a couple men who have read Haunting Miss Trentwood and enjoyed it, but I’ll admit, they weren’t my target audience. I love that they had fun with the book, though!

  1. Primary audience: Girls ages 12 – 17 years
  2. Secondary audience: Women ages 30 – 44 years
    55% of YA purchased by adults; of that, 28% belong to this gender/age group according to Nielson Market Research

What popular authors write similar books to mine?

According to Amazon:

  • Amanda DeWees
  • Cheryl Bolen
  • Cheryl Holt
  • Theresa Greene
  • Jennifer Anne Davis (only YA)
According to myself:

  • Ann Rinaldi (more history-focused)
  • Laurie Halse Anderson (more dramatic)
  • Cheryl Bolen (sexier)
  • Richard Peck (definitively YA)

Somehow my books have been lumped up with far more gothic and sexier books than the ones I believe I’m writing. Hmm… I wonder how I can change that?

What TV shows draw a similar readers?

This is a hard one since there aren’t many historical shows out right now. But the shows which hint at the tone in my books (or the tone I perceive in my books)…

  • Reign
  • Pushing Daisies
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
  • Anne of Green Gables

What expectations do they bring to the genre?

  • I want to learn a little about historical events.
  • I want to escape from my day-to-day worries and settle into something fun for a little while.

Will I fulfill or break these expectations?
Well, my hope is to meet these expectations, for sure. I think I’ll break expectations by not spending as much time “teaching” the way Ann Rinaldi does. Perhaps this is a way to differentiate so my writing seems more young adult rather than escapist adult fiction…

Worderella Hunts for her Readers

Dear Reader,

I’ve gotta say, it’s been pretty tough tracking you down. I’ve done it to myself, I know, writing such a particular genre (paranormal historical romance). But the thing is, this is the genre that is spilling onto the page, so this is the genre it seems I must write.

So first, I’d like to list what I know about you. I know you are probably a young-to-middle-aged-or-older woman. I suspect you are probably interested in historical fiction, romance, and the paranormal. Some combination of all three, if preferable. I know you are interested in relationships, particularly father/adult-daughter relationships and romantic relationships. I know you probably like…

What I don’t know is where you’re hiding yourself. I assume you are busy reading, living life, enjoying food, drink, and the company of excellent companions. I applaud these activities and encourage you to indulge them more often.

Our lives are far too hectic these days; we don’t know when to take a break or how to know when we should take a break. Even when we recognize when to take a break from the everyday doldrums, we don’t know how to.

Those of us who are lucky know to lose ourselves in a good book. The sort of good book I’m in the middle of writing, just for you.

I’m trying everything I can think of to reach you. I want you to know that I care about you, I’m fighting to make a quality, personalized product just for you. And I think I’m making headway, thanks to social media.

You see, I’ve been a part of social media for years. I had a Facebook page under a different name, and learned the ropes of the system. I deleted that page because, well, it was getting spammed by every robot and its mother. But I started a Facebook page under the name Belinda Kroll because I wanted to get to know my potential readers. I want to know what you find interesting, funny, weird, touching, etc.

I want to get to know you. And I’d like you, in the process, to get to know me.

But in the meantime, I seem to be getting a lot of fellow writers friending me on Facebook. Which is totally fine, and I’m loving the idea of garnering a small community of writer friends. But the point of my attempt at social media was to get to know you, and not necessarily my friendly competition.

Today, however, I feel as though I’ve stumbled onto a landmine. You see, I’ve been part of Twitter for over a year, but just recently set up a Twitter account dedicated to my writing. This Twitter account is where I keep up with the big writing and publishing news. I follow my blog friends, I follow agents and publishers, and I follow you, if I’m able to find you.

Which leads me to my landmine: the Twitter Search functionality. It’s taken me a while to discover how to utilize social media successfully. But I realized today that I can search for the terms that pertain to my writing, and therefore pertain to your interests.

I use this cool Firefox browser plug-in called Yoono, which allows me to log into multiple social media accounts. At any given time, I get real-time updates from Twitter and Facebook. This allows me to continue writing and researching, while taking pulse of the writing and publishing community.

Yoono is also cool because it saves my searches for me. Each search for Twitter becomes a sort of specialized list which I can access at any time. I’ve used the following terms to get closer to you, to discover if these terms pertain to you and your interests the way I hope they do…

I think I’m on the right track. The tweets I receive when I click on these search topics are from you. The content is that you’re reading these books and you’re suggesting them to friends and fellow readers.

Don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t want to spam you by advertising my work. Instead, I want to hear what you have to say about these amazing writers. After all, I’m a fan of Amanda Quick, Deanna Raybourn, Susan Carroll, et al,  just like you. I hope to learn from their books and from your comments about their books.

But mainly, I just want to get to know you. So if you could, send me a line sometime.

All the best,

Belinda Kroll