If you don’t have your audience nailed down, what can you do?

  1. Consider your ideal client for your business. If you’re writing a book associated with your business, then it makes sense to write a book that is perfectly positioned to appeal to your ideal client or customer.
  2. If you are branching away from your current career or business, you can offer your process or solution in the form of one-on-one coaching to a selection of people. Spending time with people offering your solution, service, and guidance will help you see what problems people really need help with and what you say and offer that has a big impact.
  3. Conduct “Avatar Interviews” with people you think are your ideal readers to get to know them and their interests better. (If you’ve never done Avatar Interviews listen to the podcasts Alex Charfen has released on the subject – his process is the best I’ve seen).
  4. Visit online forums and Facebook or LinkedIn groups to locate your ideal reader and follow their discussions. Check out Quora.com for questions and answers to understand what your ideal reader thinks and values and to find other recommended resources.
  5. Search books that will compete with your book and read the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Read what people like but also focus on what they don’t like. What do they want that is a bit different and missing from existing books? I’m not looking for haters; I’m looking for people who provide constructive ideas. For example, while doing research for a client writing a book on handling cancer treatments, I noticed a competing book had several comments that said the book was great but neglected the emotional aspect of dealing with cancer. This helped us advise her that there was an opportunity to position her book with more of an emotional component. 

From “Self-Publish & Succeed: The ‘No Boring Books’ Way to Write a Non-fiction Book That Sells” by Julie Broad