When I began self-publishing Kindle books back in 2012, I wrote for a single audience. It never occurred to me that other groups of readers were interested in learning about my subject. It was almost by accident that I finally discovered there are different audiences I should be writing for and many target markets I was missing. That mistake probably cost me untold numbers of book sales and royalties – sales and income lost forever.
This article is aimed at helping you learn how to expand your book to reach different audiences beyond the obvious ones you've targeted up until now.
In any business, there are two markets you sell to: Your 'Unknown' market and your 'Known' market.
For instance, if you are a plumber, then your 'Known' market consists of your friends, past customers, key commercial accounts you've done business with in the past, and referrals you get from those three groups.
But there are more people you don't know than people you do know. Your 'Unknown' market are new residents who bought a home in your city recently, people who were dissatisfied with your competition, people who are price shopping, new business owners seeking a new vendor, and perhaps an apartment manager needing new plumbing support.
If you don't keep your marketing materials and advertising aimed at this 'Unknown' market – a group you cannot possible identify because they don't have a plumbing project on their list of things to do right now – then you will miss most of these opportunities to get the job when it comes up, and you miss the chance to grow your business.
I know you're a writer, not a plumber. But the concept is the same for every business and 'Authorpreneur' on the planet: you must run your self-publishing business like a business, and you must target the message of your non-fiction books to both your 'Known' and 'Unknown 'markets if you want to make more money selling ebooks and paperback books these days.
I know from my own experience that my first ebook focused primarily only on three known markets: people who wanted to make extra money in their spare time, people who found books at thrift stores and library fund-raising sales and wanted to flip them for quick profits, and people who wanted to start a home-based business and had not decided on which types of products they were going to sell online.
My book targeted those three markets. But I totally ignored the following 'Unknown' markets:
- People who wanted to clear clutter out of their basement or attic. These people wanted to get the most they could out of those books. My book could help them do just that.
- People who were interested in recycling good used books. They wanted to make sure these books found a new home, not because they wanted to make money from them, but because they want to save trees.
- People who had inherited books when a loved one died. They didn't know how to maximize a valuable book collection for the estate. My book was the perfect vehicle to help them do that.
To identify these new markets and tailor my book to reach then required I pay attention to forum posts and even to book reviews my own book received. I learned how to read between the lines, ask myself 'Why did they make that statement or ask that question?', And learn how to realize I'd made a mistake by not writing to those new audiences.
The great thing about publishing on Amazon, though, is that revisions are simple to make quickly. You can update your book manuscript in minutes and changes go live usually within 24 hours.
Better yet, by editing and expanding my book description and my Author Central page on Amazon, I found it easy to accurately describe why my book would help this new audience.
It worked. I reached new readers. I made more sales. My royalty checks increased.
My advice is simple: Always write your book with not just one, not just two, but with all your audiences in mind. You can't always see these 'Unknown' audiences when you first put pen to paper. But they are out there. The trick is to stay aware and be on the lookout for new readers who could benefit from what you write, and make it easy for them to find you.
I produced a short MP3 audio recording you can listen to free on my blog, to help you learn from my mistakes, and so you can reach more readers and sell more books.