Get to Know Your Target Audience

Content marketing is all the rage. According to

Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers. The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you.


Content marketing is about creating interesting, useful, and engaging things to share with your target audience. These include photos, statistics, tools, comics, how to guides, and stories. It’s about giving your audience content that they want to share with others and engage with you to get more interesting and useful stuff.

Good content marketing helps you attract and convert people in your target audience to become customers and buy your book. However, you can’t share valuable information with your target audience unless you know them. You have to know your audience to meet them where they hang out, speak their language, and give them the information they want.
If you want to get to know your target audience better so that you can create content that grabs their attention, try these two ideas.

1. Ask your readers questions.

As an author or an inspiring author, you should have already or be in the process of developing a platform online. This means that you have followers on a couple social media sites and maybe even a blog. Start by asking the people who have shown interest in you and your writing questions to get to know them better.

Following are some simple questions you can ask to learn more about your audience. You can ask these questions directly or through the use of polls.

  • What is the last book you read and recommended to your friends?
  • Why did you buy the book you are currently reading?
  • Where do you buy the majority of your books?
  • What is your favorite social media site?
  • What two blogs do you read regularly?
  • What is your favorite TV show?
  • Whose advice do you listen to the most?

Once you know where your audience is hanging out, what they are reading and what they like to watch, you can begin to mold the content that you share to get their attention. For example if your target audience likes to watch “Game of Thrones”, you can create content to grab their attention. You might post about “5 Books You Might Like if You Watch Game of Thrones”.

2. Profile a reader in your target audience.

To profile a reader in your target audience, find someone online who is clearly a fan of your book’s specific genre. Such a person may frequently post reviews on these types of books on Amazon or Goodreads. Study this individual’s profile. Find out what they like and what types of things they share. Figure out where they hangout on the Internet and who they are influenced by. This profiled reader will give you a snapshot of your target audience.

Getting to know your target audience better can take a little effort. Winston Churchill said, “Success always demands a greater effort.” Put in the effort to get to know your target audience and you will find that your marketing efforts reap more success.

Related Posts:
Do You Know Your Audience?
Are You Hitting the Target?
Micro-Target to Get Results

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An Industry Shakeup

Back in 1998, Stan Davis and Christopher Meyer wrote a book titled BLUR: the speed of change in the connected economy. In the book they state, “Welcome to the new economy—a world where the rate of change is so fast it’s only a blur.”


The book industry is no exception. Changes happen all the time. The industry is blurry because things are constantly changing. Here is the most recent shakeup for the Christian book industry: Send the Light Distribution (STL) is closing.

Citing the lack of funds to remain competitive with the current supply chain for Christian products, STL is liquidating. The company has told suppliers of Christian products that they can keep their product with STL for 90 days while they search for another distributor. During these 90 days, the company will keep their suppliers’ products on the market to their entire customer base.

STL is a large distributor. They sell products for more than 500 suppliers (publishers and authors) to over 10,000 retail locations. However, they can no longer compete in an industry with shrinking store space and growing online print-on-demand sales.

The closure of STL leaves three main distributors in the Christian marketplace that small presses and independent authors have access to: Anchor Distribution, BookMasters, and Spring Arbor. Of course, small presses and independent authors have easy access to distribution with Ingram and Spring Arbor via print-on-demand services Lightning Source and IngramSpark (Christian Small Publishers Association offers its members discounts on these two services).

Nothing is constant. Publishers and authors must be willing to adapt and adapt quickly to changes to stay vital and continue to reach readers. STL was slow to change. They did not incorporate ebook distribution into their services, and they did next to nothing to promote a little known print-on-demand program they had with Snowfall Press for independent authors.

Years ago, I spoke with a Senior Executive at STL about their need to incorporate ebook distribution to stay relevant in the changing marketplace. Sadly, they did not take my advice. The Christian industry still lacks a distribution program for ebooks…and now they lack one distributor as well.

Related Posts:
Publishing Industry Trends for 2016
A Shakeup in the Christian Book Industry
Embracing Change

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Easy Ways to Get More Book Reviews

Reviews help sell books. Consumers rarely believe advertising alone. They want to know if the dollars they will be spending on a product are going to prove worthwhile.

5 star

This is where reviews come in. Reviews let consumers know that the money they are considering spending on your book will give them a fair return. In fact, studies show that 90% of consumers read online reviews, and up to 88% say they trust online reviews and comments created by other consumers.

Getting book reviews for your book does not need to be difficult or time consuming. All you have to do is ask. Following are five suggestions for asking for book reviews.

1. Ask in your book.
You can ask in the back pages of your book. At the end of your book, devote a page to letting your readers know how much their opinion matters to you and others readers. Ask in a polite fashion for the reader to share his thoughts on your book with other readers through posting a review on their favorite online bookstore, your website, or your book’s Facebook page.

2. Ask when you fulfill book orders.
If you fulfill your own book orders, send a simple notice with the book you are mailing out—or in the email you send confirming the purchase—asking the reader to share their thoughts on the book via a review.

3. Ask when readers contact you.
Sometimes readers will contact you, the author, through email or social media to let you know how your book impacted their lives. When you receive these types of comments, always respond. Thank the individual for reading your book and for sharing her thoughts with you. Let her know how much this means to you. Then, ask her nicely to share these thoughts with other potential readers so they too can benefit from the book.

4. Ask on your website.
Your book’s website should contain a “review” or “testimonial” section. This section should list all the comments and reviews readers have given about your book. You can add a badge to your website asking readers for reviews.

5. Use a book review service.
There are a number of book review services available for a fee, although few specialize in Christian books. With these services, you offer to give away complimentary copies of your book in exchange for a review. Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) has such a service for our members. This service, BookCrash, allows CSPA members to offer their books to Christian bloggers in exchange for a review. If you have a Kindle book, you can use Kindle Book Review to receive reviews for your book. Additionally, you can host a giveaway on for your book. Generally, Goodreads users who request your book then provide a review of your book on Goodreads.

When asking for a review, tell your book’s readers what a review will mean to you and what it means to others who are interested in the book’s subject matter. Be sincere in asking for a review. Remember to be thankful when you do receive a review—and always be kind, even if the review is not positive.

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Paid Book Reviews: Should You Buy?
Are Reviews Really Important?
Three Book Truths

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Nominations Open for the 2017 Book of the Year Award

Buyers gravitate to books that have won awards. An award signals a reader that the book has risen above its competition to stand out.

Each year, the number of books published independently in the United States grows exponentially. In one year, between 2012 and 2013, the number of independently published titles increased to 458,000 titles, which amounted to a 17% growth rate for that year. However, between 2008 and 2014, the growth rate for independently published titles was 437%. Additionally, independently published ebooks accounted for 31% of all sales in the Kindle Store in 2014.

As the number of independently published Christian books grows, vehicles are needed to bring awareness and give recognition to these books. Christian Small Publishers Book of the Year Award is one tool striving to do just that.

Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA) created the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award eight years ago to recognize outstanding Christian books by small presses and independently published authors.

Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award is now open for nominations for the 2017 Book of the Year Award. To be eligible to nominate a title, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Books must be Christian in nature, promote the Christian faith, and intended for the Christian marketplace. The Christian marketplace is defined as the marketplace that is served by CBA member retail stores (mainly individuals who maintain Catholic or Protestant beliefs and doctrines).
  • Books must be published with a 2015 or 2016 copyright and released for sale in 2015 or 2016. New editions of previously published books are eligible. Reissued editions are not.
  • Books submitted in previous years for the award may not be submitted again, unless they are a new edition with a new ISBN number.
  • Books must be printed in English and available for sale in the United States.
  • The nomination of a title must be made by the publisher or author of the book.
  • Eligible publishers must be small presses or independently published authors with revenues of $400,000 or less per year.

The award is offered in 14 categories. To nominate your title or to learn more about the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award visit the Award’s website at

Related Posts:
10 Reasons to Not Enter a Book Award
The Value of Book Awards
Book Awards Matter

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