Ideal reader? Is it not just any ideal reader? Everyone can read your book and enjoy it. But when you are a freelance writer and you are in charge of your launch campaigns, your blog and your social networks, you should know that not all readers are your readers.
In terms of marketing, writers have personal readers. Although deep down, they are the same as the buyer persona of marketing. In both cases, we are talking about buyers. If you are a writer you need to know what the person who will read you is like, and if changing the word “ideal buyer” to “ideal reader” makes you feel better, go ahead.
As much as we try to deny the evidence, we have clients and they are the foundation of our ghost writing careers. Therefore, it is necessary to invest time in creating an ideal reader profile, for which you will have to learn to use certain tools that will help you better understand what the people who come to your books (your readers) are looking for.
If you have a blog, you surely understand the value of understanding the public for whom you write. An ideal reader allows you to create an engaging style, talk about engaging topics, and connect with your audience. If you do not know who your target audience is, you will always be disconnected, losing readers and followers along the way.
What is an ideal reader?
An ideal reader or target audience is an archetype that represents the traits of the type of person who buys your books and reads everything you publish. This archetype is created based on the information that the writer collects from his real audience.
The ideal reader is more than just an idea. In marketing, profiles, cards with photos and detailed information are created, which helps you better understand these people. An ideal reader card offers you important information such as the problems your reader is facing, the approach that will work best for you to sell a book, or why your competition’s books work better (which readers will often share with you).
Why is it important to create an ideal reader?
In my case, as a freelance writer, creating an ideal reader allows me to delve into the texts I write. Thanks to these tabs, every time I create content I know who I am doing it for and, therefore, I know what language to use, what words work best and which CTAs will generate better results.
Creating an ideal reader card to sell your books will help you:
- You will better understand the needs of your readers(do they want simple or spectacular covers? Do they pay attention to misprints or will they give you a home correction?).
- You will understand what type of promotion will work best to sell your book (Do they want to see a book trailer? Do they trust reviews more? Do they want to buy the book from you directly in a presentation?).
- They will help you create content for your writer’s blog or, better yet, generate new ideas for your books.
- Knowing your ideal reader will allow you to speak their same language and communicate directly with them.
Although it is a pure marketing study, I leave you this link to Marketing Sherpa in which he talks about figures. For example, companies that have used the ideal reader tokens have increased the number of page views on their websites by 100% or have improved the opening rate of their emails by 110%.
One token to dominate them all
Best of all, your ideal reader token will not be set in stone. You can create it once and, as your content, your books or you change, you can update the file. Oddly enough, your target audience will change over time. Even if you keep doing the same old thing.
The process is straightforward, although it requires time and some effort. You have to sit back and really understand what your readers expect of you and your books.
How I reimagined my first ideal client
My first ideal clients were not readers. My first job was at school, when I was about seven or eight years old. I had a large collection of Dragon Ball comics and, since I was not bad at drawing, I sold drawings to my classmates for five pesetas (a hard one at the time).
At that time, I was doing the drawings by hand, since my target audience was mostly the boys in my class. The girls weren’t interested in my drawings, or in Dragon Ball. As it was a small audience, I could draw the drawings by hand at recess, at home after doing homework, or at lunchtime.
However, outside orders soon began. Classmates from other classes, some older and some younger, began to ask me for drawings. Also, a new audience was added; the girls also seemed interested in the Dragon Ball drawings.
Suddenly my business had changed.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t the out-of-class peers who changed the business. It was the companions. They wanted the drawings to be black and white, because if there were some Dragon Ball lovers, most wanted them to paint.
At that point, I had to reinvent my business. I no longer had the time (or the desire) to draw by hand. So I went from pencil to photocopies and, by the law of supply and demand, the drawings went from costing five pesetas to fifteen.
I didn’t get rich, but I was the kid who had the best snack at my school.
Steps to create your ideal reader
The first thing I want you to be clear about is that an ideal reader listing is not a pile of data collected in Analytics. You are a writer, so you have to see them as characters in a book, with their own ideas, dreams and hopes.
The information you collect helps you better understand every aspect of your life, but it is more than just data. Your research will lead you to discover information that you must classify by categories.
Understand why it does what it does
What leads you to read a book about a teenage vampire? At this point, try to understand what his goals are and how he got to you. You have to understand their “pain points” and why they want to buy your books.
Make a map of the obstacles
The second thing you have to do is make a map of the obstacles that your ideal reader is on the road. What is keeping him from buying your book? For this you have to put yourself in the shoes of your reader and understand how they see your books. Many readers will not find your books because you have not done enough promotion, others will not trust until they read several reviews … Whatever it is, you have to understand it and remedy it.
Think like your readers
Again, put on your readers’ shoes. To sell books you have to ask yourself the following questions:
- What value do they give to my books? (This you can know from the reviews and from the votes and comments on Amazon or Goodreads).
- Do your readers expect a professional sales experience from you?
- Will they buy more of your book if it’s expensive? Do you prefer short stories or cheap short novels?
At this point, you should ask yourself other questions to understand what content your readers will appreciate:
- What kind of readings do you prefer?
Many readers prefer novels to stories. Some enjoy short story anthologies, others enjoy short novels, and some love serialized novels. You will also find readers who perceive a cheap book as low quality, while others will prefer to buy anything under a euro (although it is not ideal).
How do you find the information to create an ideal reader file?
If you have a writer’s blog, you will have much of the work done. The people who read your blog will also be the ones who read your books. Therefore, to understand your readers, you only have to analyze the statistics of your blog. Google Search Console and Google Analytics will offer you all the demographic and taste information you need, about style and language, you’re most read and commented posts will give you a good overview of what your readers expect from your books.
Without blog, the issue is complicated. But don’t worry, you still have ways of understanding your readers. The first and foremost will be Goodreads. Why Goodreads and not Amazon? Because on Goodreads, when a reader comments or rates your book, you can access their profile. In his profile you can see the age range, his literary tastes and, hopefully, you can access his other social networks and get an idea of what he does and how he does it.
If you don’t have any published books, research books by other authors of your genre. Find books that are as similar to yours as possible (this is something you should always do) and look at the comments and readers’ ratings. Take a look at their profiles and get as much information as possible about those people.
Above all, you have to avoid stereotypes. Not all romantic readers are middle-aged women, and not all horror lovers are mindless psychopaths. Don’t assume anything.
The reader is neither created nor destroyed
There are already readers for all kinds of books. Whatever you write, there will be a book very similar (or exactly the same) on the market. Use the information in those books to create your ideal reader.
Look for those books on Amazon, Goodreads, Lektu or any platform and look at the information that their readers leave. At this point you will find two types of useful information: demographic and opinion.
The opinions and comments will help you take the temperature of your book. In books on the same subject you can see what has been liked, what has failed and what has been missing. You will also be able to see what type of profile is the most suitable for your ideal reader and to fine-tune the promotion during the launch.
On the other hand, demographic information will allow you to create as faithful an image as possible of your reader. You can start creating the ideal reader profile with the following information:
- Reading habits.
- Interests and activities.
The reader on social media
I have told you about Goodreads and Amazon, but there are readers on all social networks. On Instagram, you will find more and more accounts dedicated to reading. You can even find accounts focused on book covers, which can help you know if your cover will work or not, for example.
Take a look at those accounts dedicated to reading and writing. Look at the followers of writers in your niche or your own followers if you already have a published book. In social networks, you will find information of all kinds, from philias and phobias to wishes (can you imagine something better than writing the book that your reader has been waiting for so long?).
Facebook is another good network to extract information. Join literature groups of your genre. Look at the comments, look at the profiles of the most active users.
Don’t be in a hurry and don’t get overwhelmed. Analyze all the information in detail and create the most complete profile of the ideal reader possible.
Creating an ideal reader profile will help you humanize your readers. It’s about connecting on a human level with the person who buys your book. If you spend time studying their habits, you will be able to appreciate that person as a friend, someone with whom you share something.
In addition, creating an ideal reader profile will help you better focus you’re marketing and promotional campaigns.