How to Really Pinpoint the Audience for Your Book

Jeevan Sivasubramaniam Posted by Jeevan Sivasubramaniam, Managing Director, Editorial, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.



How to Really Pinpoint the Audience for Your Book

Publishers always emphasize how it is important that an author know and clarly identify his or her audience, but most authors are not very good about that. Most authors tend to be rather general ("CEOs of all companies" or "Self-improvement readers") or aspire to the near-impossible ("there are X million teenagers in this country and this book is for all of them"). Of course, this will not happen. Ever.

But there is something that works way better and I wish I could take credit for this, but I can't. David Sanford, a BK community member, suggested this approach which I thought was utterly brilliant and thoroughly evidence-based:

"Every good book proposal requires the author’s audience(s) including current demographic and psychographic details. My favorite hack is figuring out which magazines my audiences enjoy reading. Then I go to the websites for those magazines, click “Advertise,” and download the media kit for each magazine. The media kits contain a wealth of demographic and psychographic details you can mine in minutes. Kudos to Wikipedia for this list of hundreds of links to top U.S. magazines."

Thank you, David. I'll be using this to coach authors from hereon.