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.
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?