There are few things that everyone needs — food, water, and air among them. Taken further, there are few things that everyone wants — happiness, however, is one I’m pretty sure we all desire.

That’s the great thing about being human: We all want different things.

Not everyone wants to be famous. Not everyone wants to be married. Not everyone wants to be a big-wig corporate executive. Not everyone wants fancy clothes, or expensive jewels, or a luxury car, or a trip around the world. And guess what . . .

Not everyone wants to read your book!

Ouch!

Seriously. When asked about the target audience or ideal reader for their book, many first-time authors say, “Everyone.” Ummmmm, excuse me, but . . . NO! No, no, no. Not everyone wants to read your book. That’s the cold, hard truth.

That means you need to dig deeper than everyone to identify and profile your true ideal reader. This is the one person who stands to benefit most from the content of your book. The singular person who is most likely to search for, buy, read, enjoy, and recommend your masterpiece.

The reason you haven’t done that yet is because you’re afraid. You’re afraid that narrowing down your target audience means you’ll exclude someone. You’re right; and that’s the point. Having a focused, well-defined ideal reader profile does exclude people — the people who won’t buy, like, or recommend your book. You don’t want them anyway!

What zeroing in on your ideal reader will do for you is help you invest your limited book marketing time and dollars on the most likely reader so you don’t spin your wheels and waste your time and money trying to get everyone to read your book; because that just won’t happen.

So reverse engineer your ideal reader profile by knowing:

  • How you define success as it relates to your book (i.e. sales, clients, speaking invitations, a new job or promotion, etc.)
  • The specific action you want a reader to take when he or she finishes reading your book
  • Who and what influences their purchasing decisions (besides how much money they have)
  • Where your ideal reader hangs out online and offline (social networks, membership orgs, blogs, etc.)
  • Who influences your ideal reader’s thinking (gurus, celebs, family, colleagues, etc.)
  • The solution your book content offers
  • Other books and resources your ideal reader has already tried (but may not have worked)
  • The problem your reader has

Be really specific about each of these items, and you’ll find you have a pretty good insight into who your book is for and how to position it to them. Sounds easy, but it’s not. However, it’s not only worth a try, it’s imperative if you want your book to make the impact you expect it to for the people you intended.

So, who’s your ideal reader?


Anita HendersonAnita R. Henderson is president of The Write Image, LLC and creator of Write Your Life. Her work with professionals and entrepreneurs has resulted in multiple award-winning books and has helped authors grow their media and online visibility, speaker platforms, industry credibility, and overall confidence in their ability to write a compelling, high-quality book and leverage it in their business or career.

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