Popular Complaint: “My family don’t support my writing.”🤷🏾♀️
Umm. How can I put this, your family and friends will be the least supportive of your writing (as is the case for most businesses). That’s not a bad thing entirely because they are not really your targeted audience.
New Writer: *Smacks lips, rolls eyes.* “Okay, so what that mean?” 🙄
It means you have to find those people who are most likely to read the kinds of books you write and often, they are not family members. This specific group of people is called a targeted audience. You are not targeting everyone but focusing on one specific kind of reader. Here’s an example from words from Tyler Perry:
“I clearly believe that I’m ignored in Hollywood for sure and that’s fine. I get it. My audience and the stories that I tell are African American stories specific to a certain audience, specific to a certain group of people that I know that I grew up with and we speak a language.” – Tyler Perry
Say what you want about Perry but he has a keen understanding of his Target Audience. That’s what he is speaking of here. A specific group of people who his films/movies/TV shows are specifically for. That’s why his movies are all along the same lines in the theme. We can see that Tyler Perry makes the same movies because he is targeting a specific audience.
Personally, I am not much of a Tyler Perry fan. There are only a few of his movies I like but that’s not the point.
We can agree or disagree with his movies, but he is an excellent example of someone with knowledge of his Target Market.
When you are targeting a specific group, you are not trying to reach everyone or garner everyone’s support. Your purpose is to appeal to that specific group.
(Feel like I’m saying “specific” a lot but that’s kinda important).
How many people at Michelle Obama’s book signing were related to her?
New Writer: “What? But those was her fans tho.” 🧐
And you have fans too if you look beyond the praise of family members who will probably never buy.
New Writer: “So you saying my mama can’t buy my book?” 💁🏾♀️
Your mom will probably buy your book first, but she’s not the seventeen-year-old black boy with peer pressure issues you wrote it for is she?
New Writer: “I mean naw but…”🤨
…and she’s probably not gonna leave a book review on Amazon, follow you on Goodreads, Twitter, Instagram, or subscribe to your email list and if she does, she probably won’t remember to read it.
New Writer: *smacks lips* “Dang why you gotta be all negative for?” 😒
Because the truth will set a lot of writers free from unrealistic expectations about what it means to be an author.
Loyal family/relatives may buy a book or two and they may be there to cheer you on, lift you, and support you in various ways. Families are good at heaping praises.
They love to like your posts, root you on and tell you repeatedly how they intend to buy your book and how proud they are of you. This is helpful from an encouraging point of view and it feeds the ego, but praise doesn’t sell books. How many of these people follow up? Every year the same family member asks, “where can I buy yo book?” But they never buy.
It is those non-relative readers who your book is specifically written for who will buy with consistency and read your every release, becoming avid readers and fans.
(…and I hate to use the word “fan,” by the way. *Shudders* Be a fanatic for no one.)
👉🏾How many of your genetic relatives have bought your book?
New Writer: “Lemme see, my mama got one, my cousin, boo boo nem, lil Chris…”
So what, all five of them..?
New Writer: “Oh, so you being funny?”🤔
No. I’m being real. Put it this way, would a company whose buyers don’t watch TV, make a commercial to push their product?
New Writer: “Naw that’s stupid.”🙄
🤷🏾♀️ So why would authors focus the bulk of their efforts on trying to sell to people who don’t read the books they write?
New Writer: “I guess I see what you saying.”😩
Now, take out some paper. You’re gonna have to write this down.
…wait, what are you doing? Put your phone down this is important. 🤦🏾♀️
New Writer: “Imma type it in my notepad.”
Okay but don’t be on Instagram this is important.
New Writer: I’m not dang. 🤳Go. I’m ready.”
Okay, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you find your readers.
- Who are my current readers/Who am I trying to reach? How old are they? What do they like? Where do they hang out?
- What’s the #1 thing my readers love/need the most?
- What problem does my book solve? What are my readers’ pains/issues/struggles/challenges?
- What do readers gain from reading my book? What do I have to offer?
- Who would benefit most from reading my book?
- What makes my book unique?
My Responses to Common Complaints from New Writers is something new I am adding to this blog based on common writing and publishing questions from new Indie Writers. I thought it would be fun to answer them here in the form of dialogue. You will know the posts by the quotation marks around the complaint to differentiate it from other posts.
Did you like this first post? Do you have a common complaint I should address?