Self-Publishing: Target Markets

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Though it’s a lot of work, one of the many reasons I chose to Self-Publish is the control. One thing that I did not want is to be categorized. If for whatever reason I chose to include biblical text or any spirituality in my writing I did not want my work labeled Christian Fiction or anything unrelated to the kinds of books I represent even if it did contain biblical insight. I use this as an example to show that what I wanted was to produce books according to how I was being led and to not be held back by society’s precepts or interpretations. This does not, however, exclude me from the discipline this field requires, one of which is identifying target markets.

What is a Target Market?

A target market is a specific group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed. This group of people would also be referred to as your target audience. They are the group of people who your work is specifically targeted to. In this way, you can position yourself to be around this group of people off and online more so than any other group because they are the people who are interested in the kinds of books you write or rather, the kind of service you provide.

An example of Target Markets, according to an example given by Google is: “Schools are a key target for apps.” Why is this so? Education and how children learn is evolving just as quickly as technology. The aged old chalkboard is really not as effective in my opinion as interactive whiteboard systems. That said computers and teaching go hand in hand. In this way, schools are one of the major institutions who could support many of the learning apps available to be used in the classrooms. So for app developers, schools are a key target market meaning this is a group that they strive to appeal to in their promotions as the most likely to purchase their product. But to go further, they can break schools down into what kind of schools they are targeting. Public? Private? Magnet? Charter?

The easiest way to break down a Target Market without the confusion is to think about the kinds of readers who are interested in the kinds of books you write and to break these groups down into their smallest group. You can start broad but try to get it down to the most specific group possible: For example:

Women readers between the ages of 18 – 45. To define this further, I may choose to target online fiction readers of African American ancestry who are interested in history and short stories. This market can be broken down into two-three niches: online short story readers, historical fiction readers, and African American women readers. This example can also be broken down even further but I suppose we pretty much get the point. This does not exclude men from having a target market does not leave out everyone else, but it helps you to closely market your books to a group who, more so than others, will support it.

Everyone

Target-Audience-Promotional-Audience

Although technically speaking anyone who desires to make a profit is targeting everyone, everyone is not a Target Market. It is very unlikely, especially as a Self-Publisher, that everyone will buy your books. That said you have to break reader groups down into the most specified group possible and that’s basically what a Target Market is if you strip it of all the technical language. You are pointing to certain consumers and saying “I choose to market my product to you because we share the same interest.”

While I am still striving to understand the business side of publishing myself, I do know that Indie Authors must realize that their goals should be directly related to their purpose, but that this does not exempt any of us from basic business knowledge and implementation. Meaning that despite passion we still have to target a specific group of people because they are going to be the ones to support our work. We have to do this more so than anyone else because of the stigmas that, though fading, still exists for Self-Publishers. To determine your Target Market, ask yourself:

  • Who are my current customers?
  • Why do they buy from me?
  • Which ones bring in most business?
  • What characteristics and interest do they share?

Week #3: Beyond The Colored Line – Interracial Blog Feature with Allison Wells

interracial

It’s kind of hard to believe this today, but as recent as 1967, there was actually state laws that banned interracial marriage. These laws weren’t overturned until the Supreme Court case, Loving vs. Virginia in 1967. In that case, the Supreme Court found that it was unconstitutional for the state of Virginia to ban interracial marriage.

Although there are no longer any laws banning relationships, interracial dating remains a controversial subject for some people.

The Interracial Blog Feature was inspired by my new book, “Beyond The Colored Line”, and was created as a means to foster a better understanding of diverse relationships. Today, we welcome a good friend of mine Allison Wells.

EC: Hey Allison, I’m so excited to have you spending time with us today. Can you give the racial background of you and your husband for the record and how long you’ve been together?

AW: I am half Mexican and half white. We have been together 12, married almost 10.

EC: Awesome. Now, the character in my book, Stella May, is what the people of her era deem a mulatto, that is, she is of mixed ancestry. You have children who are biracial. What advice would you give to mothers of mixed children on how to deal with the stigmas that are often placed to them?

Photo Credit: Copyright© Andre and Allison Wells. Used with permission.
Photo Credit: Copyright© Andre and Allison Wells. Used with permission.

AW: Teach them to love all of who they are but don’t keep them in a bubble, prepare them for what others will say.

EC: That’s a good point. Preparation is so important. What are some challenges that interracial couples deal with that couples of the same race may not have to deal with?

AW: Well since we both grew up differently we had to learn to adjust to each others way of doing things… and food choices :). When it comes to parenting, you learn to compromise when necessary but you also learn to come up with your own ways of doing things. Neither one of us had very involved parents so we have been “learning as we go”.

EC: I get you. Sometimes that’s the best way to go too. OK, so, when African-Americans and Whites marry, there is more likely to be an African-American husband and a white wife. In fact, 73 percent of all African-American and White marriages have this setup. In your opinion and your experience with Interracial Relationships what do you think attracts other ethnicities to black men?

AW: Strength. Black men have a natural strength about them that is very attractive. When I say strength it’s both physical and mental. When dating, if I could walk all over you, it was an instant turn off.

EC: Whew! Now that’s some insight right there, yesss. SPEAK. OK I’m calm lol. So anyway, speaking of black men, I hear a lot of black people, women in particular, accusing other blacks of being “sell outs” when they date outside their race. Have you or your husband ever had the misfortune of the title and why do you think this is?

AW: Yes, I’ve defiantly heard the phrase “why couldn’t he get with a black girl? He’s weak.”

EC: Wow. Why do you think this is? How does it make you feel?

AW: Well I’ve also been on the flip-side of that comment, I’ve had people ask why I was dating someone white but the truth of the matter is people are never going to be happy with your decisions. Everyone has an opinion and some people love to criticize. So I don’t deal in other people’s opinions, it doesn’t affect me either way.

EC: I heard that. Speaking of opinions, a lot of people discern that blacks who speak with a professional tongue are trying to sound white. I speak from experience. My husband is not white but he’s very educated and he grew up in a diverse city as well where the majority of people in the town were white. Of the blacks present, he was teased by them a lot for his speech. They said that he sounded, “White”. As a biracial woman, what are your thoughts on this?

AW: That’s silly to me. I think when people say stuff like that it speaks to their own insecurities. There is nothing wrong with speaking correctly, or “properly.”

EC: True. As my husband would say, just be real about it. Speak how you speak regardless of the company and give everyone the same level of respect. Now, speaking of speech, I’ve always wondered about the conversations between interracial couples concerning the ongoing racial tensions surrounding blacks and whites. Are there any moments where you and your husband disagree with a subject that is race related? If so, how do you deal with that?

AW: I think that it helps us both get a fuller understanding of each side. We don’t disagree often but if we do then we explain our points.

EC: Hmm, so it fosters greater insight into both your perspectives.

AW: Right.

EC: Any time before 1967 your relationship would technically be illegal. How does that make you feel today with the knowledge that you’ve chosen to be with someone outside of your race?

AW: If anything it makes me truly grateful to be born in this time.

EC: Yes indeed. Allison, I want to thank you again for being part of this series, it has truly been a pleasure. If there is one form of advice you would give to people still struggling to accept Interracial Relationships, what would it be?

AW: Love is a strong thing, it sees past color. If you are still struggling then maybe you need to check yourself on that.

EC: I just love how you keep it all the way real. In closing, as someone who has been married for some time, name one thing that has kept your relationship going.

Photo Credit: Copyright© Andre and Allison Wells. Used with permission.
Photo Credit: Copyright© Andre and Allison Wells. Used with permission.

AW: I think what has kept us together for this long is our respect for one another, our faith, and communication.

EC: Such a beautiful couple, thank you Allison for your time.

AW: Anytime.

And that’s it family, Allison Wells on Interracial Marriages. As you can see from our Q&A, the purpose of this series is to shed light on the fact that mankind was made to be compatible with one another regardless of race. Thank you Mrs. Wells for joining me in this series. It was insightful and educational, I sure did learn a lot.

file(7)Stay tuned for our final week of Interracial Marriages. We’ll be wrapping up our series with our final interviewee and a surprise gift from me to all of my guests! You don’t want to miss it.