Author Platforms & Portfolios Pt. 2

Publicity Tip #30

How Your Genre or Niche Market Plays a Part~

book genresOne of the most important facets about platform building is understanding your target audience.  If you’ve read an earlier Writerly Rant of mine, you’ll know that “everyone will like my book” is not a helpful answer when you are trying to market yourself or your work.

The easy part is knowing whether your book is fiction or non-fiction but then you need to decide which readers would like your work more than any other out there – and that means being honest with yourself about your genre.

A non-fiction writer has choices like: cook book, memoir, narrative-nonfiction, how to, psychology, health, astronomy, etc.

A fiction author needs to decide their core genre first: general fiction, romance, historical, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, young adult, etc.

A fiction author then needs to decide if they belong to a sub-category: urban fantasy, paranormal, crime, contemporary, cli fi, new adult, erotica, etc.

Then you need to profile the ideal reader focusing on gender, age, likely occupation, related hobbies, what they watch on TV, favourite restaurant, favourite store to shop at, etc.

For Example:

Historical Paranormal Profile

Melanie Hathwate, age 21 – single female working part-time as a coffee barista and part-time as a vet-tech at the local animal shelter.  She enjoys reading, playing game-apps on her i-phone, dancing, and jogging through the park.  She watches the Murdock Mysteries, Supernatural, and Wormwood on TV and enjoys movies like the Time Traveller’s Wife, Kate & Leopold, Interview with a Vampire, and Van Helsing.  She loves Asian restaurants, especially Japanese karaoke bars, and prefers to shop at Aeropostale and Gap but often ends up at the local vintage store for work clothes.

So how does this dating profile help you the author/publicist?

It gives you a starting point based on stereotypical and statistical assumptions of your niche market to target.  Your personal branding begins with what you can take out of the profile and use to your advantage when marketing.  It’s the way you address your YouTube viewers, what you offer as incentive with early marketing strategies, where you try to set up book signings, whose blogs you try to get on as a guest with, what your cover and other promotional materials look like, and where to target readings and giveaways.  This will focus your tweets and give you fodder for forum discussions and speaking engagements because you’ll know who you’re talking to and why.

This is the foundation of who you will be as a writer for the next few years.

If you don’t plan on writing in the same genre for several books, you may find it difficult to structure a solid fan-base.  Remember, just because you like to write paranormal romance and young adult literary fiction doesn’t mean your PR fans will want anything to do with YA LF writing and you will be working twice as hard as you need to.  However, if you really don’t want to commit to one genre, you could look at the core of what you write about (strong female characters needing to recognize that their faults are also their strengths) and turn that into your brand as a way of bridging the gap between dramatically different genres.  In that case, begin your profile with this commonality as your heading instead of genre but know that they work in the same way.

Drop by next week when I focus specifically on your public appearances as part of your growing platform.

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