Friday, November 1, 2013

DIY Blog Tour: Who is your audience?


So you want to plan a blog tour. Or maybe you don't really want to, but you know it's good for you (like spinach and broccoli without butter) so you're going to do it anyway. Great! But before you start thinking about contest swag and interview questions, you need to get the important details nailed down first.

At the top of the list of important details is Identify Your Audience.

This may seem basic, but your audience will drive every other decision you make about your blog tour. Anytime you need to choose between this or that, the answer is always 'which one will my reader like better'.

Ideally you know your audience already since you wrote a whole book for them, but I've found that a lot of authors confuse genre/age group with audience. When asked 'Who is your audience?', they reply 'Kids age 11-13 who like mystery'. This isn't an audience. This tells me you wrote a MG mystery novel.

I've written other post on knowing who is your reader and where to find your reader, so I won't go into it here. If you haven't ever stopped to really focus in on who your reader is, you need to do it now. Otherwise, how will you know if you're building a blog tour your reader will like.

Now, for those of us who write YA, we are special little sparkly stars. We like to think that our audience is everyone, because YA isn't just for teens anymore.

Your sparkly star is great when you need a pat on the back, but it has no place in this blog tour. You might have a more diverse audience than Neil Diamond, but you can't market your book to everyone or you'll be marketing to no one.

Forget about the bored housewives (ha, like they exist) and the cool school librarians. Focus on the teens your book was really written for. This concludes this special YA author service announcement.

Take some time before you work on any other part of your blog tour to identify your target audience, the holy grail of readers, your future biggest fan. Write down everything you know about him/her. Pin a picture of them. Draw their face on a volleyball and give them a spot of honor on your desk. It doesn't matter how you do it. Just make sure that you have a visual reminder to check in with your audience through the planning process to make sure you are on the right track to making a splash with your tour.


9 comments:

  1. I'd like to say I know my target audience but I don't. If I were a teen, loving adventure, thrills, and chills, my book would be perfect. But where teen horror lovers are, I don't know. I wasn't planning a blog tour, however, now that you remind me it's like broccoli (LOL!) I'll be thinking about it more seriously.

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    1. I suggest thinking smaller, not bigger. Lots of teens like the idea of scary adventure. Which are yours? The ones who are into thrill seeking? Do they compete in extreme sports? Do they watch horror movies? Are they the ones dressed up at ComicCon? When you think smaller, the issue of finding them is easier. Hope that helps. :)

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    2. I don't know who my readers are either and I think it actually depends on the project. Marlowe Girl fans couldn't connect with A Missing Peace

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    3. Your audience can absolutely shift between books. Ideally, you hook in readers enough that even if they aren't the target audience for your next book, they'll still read it. :)

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    4. OK, so I think my teen readers would be horror movie watchers. I frequent a number of horror movie review sites/forums, but there are no teens there. Any ideas?

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    5. So the horror realm isn't my specialty, but from what I've seen, teens tend to be followers more of the cult fiction type of horror. Also, check out any Goodreads discussions on current YA horror novels. Then do a little online stalking of the participants to see where else they are online. It's gonna feel a little creepy, but since you write horror you should be fine. :)

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    6. Hahaha! Yes, a bit of online stalking won't bother me. Thanks for the tip!

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  2. Sarah, as usual I'm in awe of your post. I love the "sparkly little star" part. LOL I think I have the opposite problem though. I write for teens and I think teens get my books the best but it's tough to find teen bloggers. I have connected with a few, which is also awkward because I'm not sure how much we should interact online with minors. I'm always very careful about that.

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    1. Teen reviewers are harder to find, but they are out there. Check out http://www.teenbookguru.com/. She is a teen reviewer and almost her entire blog roll is made up of other teen reviewers.

      There is a line when it comes to adult/teen online interaction, but I think so long as the topic stays focused on books, writing, publishing, etc. you should be fine.

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