Jul 7, 2011

Online Marketing for Offline Readers

How do you manage online marketing to those unlikely to be online?
I've been turning the cogs over in mind this week (they're a bit rusty and need a crank every now and then) about finding your customers when you self-publish. It occurred to me some markets are easier to find than others.

The first step is to work out who your average reader is. I don't mean vaguely like 'romance readers', but specifically have a stereotype in mind (in this example perhaps your particular romance appeals to women 30-40 with children). Do you know? You really need to work this out if your novel is finished and ready to go. Try visiting sites like Goodreads and Amazon for similar style novels to see who their market is.

I know not every reader will be the same, but you want to work out who your majority of readers are. For instance violent thrillers written by men are most likely to have a male readership. The more I think about this market, the more I think it's the hardest to reach if you are not a previously published author.

Some men do circulate online, but many for this market don't. They don't browse Amazon for unknown writers and don't spend a lot of time 'browsing' in bookstores. They buy a book because it won an award, because it was recommended on a reliable source, like their favourite newspaper or ABC radio-programme. Problem is, if you are a new writer, it's unlikely you'll be mentioned in these sources. But I thought long and hard. There is a way to get your book in this reluctant hand. Through a more reliable market. Women. 

Many times books my dad has loved have been novels I've purchased for him, or gifts from his female friends or my sister. He would never have gone looking for this novel, but once given it, he reads it. This market doesn't like to waste a gift. A couple of times he's enjoyed a book so much he's asked me where he can find more in the series.

My dad will never visit a blog, spend time on Facebook or even know that Goodreads exists, but people who buy books for him do. So if you have a difficult market to reach online, try reaching them through their networks instead. Market your book to those people as the perfect gift idea.

Although not talking about novels, this marketing blog, LEADSexplorers, refers to this sales approach as targeting your customer's 'trusted parties'.

I'll blog more on this topic soon, about ways to find those buyers who do circulate online. Together we might be able to find a plan :)

But first I'll be going offline. Just for a couple of days. I'm taking on a challenge to write 30,000 words in  only 3 days. I'm doubtful, but I hope to at least finish the first draft of MY ZOMBIE DOG. Wish me luck!


  1. Good luck with the challenge! You're right about reaching the men through women via gift buying and such. You could extrapolate that to marketing YA to parents who are buying for kids, etc. It all comes down to networking and exposure. And, of course, there are the little things - like checking with local newspapers (even if they're small) to ask if they'll do a feature or just a little blurb on your book, and hitting up local bookstores or the local library to do an author event. Heck, the more I think of it, you could even check out retirement communities, donate signed copies (if appropriate) to hospital libraries and such...
    must go make list :))
    Good luck with your 3 days of writing!

  2. These are the tough questions. Finding one's market is the hardest part of selling books.

  3. Ah, that makes a lot of sense. Very interesting. Looking forward to more.

  4. Back door marketing. Excellent idea!
    Good luck with your writing!

  5. Good luck on Zombie Dog. 30,000 in three days is a challenge, to be sure. Not impossible but shoot for the moon and land among the stars and all that.

  6. I've totally been wondering about this too. You've got some great tips here, it's a fantastic idea to target the "trusted parties"...I don't know why that hasn't registered in my mind before...

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  7. 10k words a day? Impressive. Good luck with that.

    Great post too about knowing your market. Makes sense.

  8. Excellent point. No matter where you are in the publishing game, you need to be thinking about who your readership is, and how you can reach them. Great idea here, marketing to those who buy books as gifts.

  9. Good ideas, thanks. Cheering you on!

  10. Hi, Charmaine. Best of luck with the challenge.
    You are not kidding about how hard it can me to figure out all of this marketing stuff...
    I'm sorry that I haven't been around much of late. I have just turned over a new leaf with regard to posting less and promoting/networking more. Hopefully I won't be missing as much anymore... Yeah, I know. We'll see. Lol!

    Take care.