Friday, May 18, 2012

More Self-Help for Indie Authors- Market Shares

On Tuesday and Wednesday I talked about the business ends of self-publishing and being an indie author. I'll continue that thread today. Today's focus is more about the entrepreneurial spirit of being an indie author. Today's topic is analyzing data and market shares, and why you should care as a writer.

I know many of you have tried being traditionally published. I'm not knocking it. I traditionally publish also or at least did in the past. I know there is a swing towards being an indie author with traditionally published author. So much so that traditional publishers are hurting financially to the point of lawsuits and bankruptcies.

As a child and young adult, I spent hours in brick and mortar bookshops and libraries. Now, the internet makes it so much easier to find what you want from the comfort of your home. With electronic media such as twitter, Facebook, and Google+ you don't actually have to meet up with friends to chat.

I had another author friend ask me about GoodReads. I've been a member there for about a year now like most of the social medias. GoodReads is a different animal all together. It's all about the reader. You can promote your books as an author, but more importantly it ties you in with other readers. For me, I developed a fan page there also. It's not getting a whole lot of activity but that's okay for me. I'm chatting away with other readers about books I read and write.

It's market research. I know many writers do research into the markets they are writing in whether they are traditionally published or self-published.

It shows the writer who reads what and what they thought about it.  This is important. In the old days you'd have to hire a market research firm to get this valuable information for big bucks. I know I've done it and charged the big bucks to do it. It's like Google Analytics. With GoodReads I can speak to readers one on one as well as other authors. What works and what doesn't. It saves time. You can develop an email list of those who are reading you as an author for your next novel. It's a back door look into the publishers' confidentiality clause. It's what standard publishers do so well.

Do you know the market for your books? Okay, say it's romance. Ah, but what kind of romance is it? Paranormal? Historical? The Barbara Cartland type? The steamy erotica type? There are a whole host of sub genres in one category. Do you know who your market is? Doh! Women, right? Yes, but what are their age brackets? What nationality reads more romances than any other? What is their educational background? This is data all necessary for you to figure out who makes up your readers' market. You wouldn't sell a teenie booper romance to an elderly woman, would you? No of course not, you would hit the tween market.

Wouldn't you want to cultivate that particular market? This is what most agents say "know your market." This is not necessarily a broad area. It could be a specialized market niche. Say you write a military based how-too book. Housewives on average will not buy it. The language you use in the book wouldn't be warm and fuzzy...it goes over most men's heads. You'd get this kind of look from them. ----------->

As an indie author you have to know who your audience is and how to reach them. It's building your "platform." It's creating a mailing list. It's letting those who would possibly buy your book know who you are and what you've written. Most writers do not see the sense in wasting their time on twitter, Facebook, GoodReads, Google+, etc because they don't see results instantly. Social media is not about sales...it's about the possibility of future sales and building relationships with readers. Like this blog does for other writers. You may have few viewers at the present time, but it grows.

For traditional publishing a successful internet platform is 5,000 hits a day is optimum. But for the indie author it's a growing experience.

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

1 comment:

S.P. Bowers said...

Thanks for this. It's good to see it broken down.