Recently, I presented a workshop titled “Three Things to Do Before You Publish a Book” at a Christian writer’s conference. One of the three things I talked about doing was developing an audience.
One of the attendees asked, “Don’t you find an audience for your book?”
We think like that, don’t we? We need to find our target audience. Except, that is not true.
When you write a book, you should have a target audience in mind. Your target audience are the people who you are writing your book for and who are most likely to read your book. Are they single moms? Teenagers? Stay-at-home dads? Christians struggling with debt? New believers looking to understand God’s word? Grieving Christians?
Whoever your target audience is, you don’t find them. Sometimes, they find you. When someone “discovers” your book, reads it, and it speaks to them, this person becomes part of your audience. In these cases, your audience finds you; you don’t find them. However, most people read a book because someone they trust recommends the book to them, not because they find or discover a book.
Developing an audience is about trust. An audience is a group of people who listen to what you have to say. People only listen to what you have to say because they trust you.
Sometimes, people listen to what you have to say because someone they trust has told them to trust you. For example, when I speak at writer’s conferences, the people who attend my workshops don’t know or trust me. However, they trust the organizers of the event, and hence that trust is transferred to me as one invited by the organizers to speak. This transferred trust allows me to have an audience.
So, how do you develop an audience? By developing trust. First you must go hang out where your target audience hangs out. Then you start developing relationships by joining the conversations they have. As you speak to your target audience on a regular basis, they come to know and trust you. They become your audience.
The best ways to start developing an audience is online and through public speaking engagements. You do this by finding out where your target audience hangs out and join them there. A few basics to get you started include:
- Have a website that tells people about you and your book(s).
- Start a blog or be a guest on blogs that speak to your target audience.
- Have a couple social media profiles to help you start connecting with people. Get active on a couple sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram.
- Join discussion groups where your target audience talks to each other.
- Start a YouTube channel, a live-stream broadcast, or a podcast to regularly provide content that enriches your target audience’s lives.
- Seek out speaking engagements that are directed at your target audience.
Start providing content to your target audience that shows them they can trust you and your message. Once they trust you, they become your audience and listen to what you have to say. In turn, you gain more readers for your books.
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