Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Audience? What audience? by Braxton DeGarmo

We all know what an audience is. A big challenge for many is finding that audience. That’s certainly true for Indie authors, and becoming truer for trad pub authors, whose publishers expect more and more marketing from them.

If you Google the phrase “finding an audience as an author,” you’ll come up with dozens of blog posts and articles on the topic. They all pretty much say the same thing. You might read the first one and your eyes glaze over as you think, Duh! That’s obvious. But had you truly considered it before and acted on it?

A lot of it is just common sense. Geographic: Where do my readers live? Are they urban or rural? Does their climate have them hibernating over long, dreary winters with a pile of your books by their reading chair to brighten the day? Demographic: Age, gender, race, native language, social status, and more. Some bloggers tell you to know your target before writing your book. True, to a point. You don’t want to write for action-oriented males, ages 18-25, if your real audience should be women, ages 25-50, seeking a romantic escape . . . because their own action-oriented male is asleep on the couch. <Ahem>

A branch of demographics has been labeled psychographics. That might include things like
readers’ backgrounds/upbringing; their health; their goals, beliefs, and values; and their lifestyles. Then there’s their behavioral traits. Do they prefer paperback or eBook? Are they already loyal to your genre? Do they tend to buy on impulse and throw money at books, or are they Amazonians who struggle to pay $0.99 for a good book? (Yes, that’s a dig at Amazon, the epitome of love/hate relationships for authors.)

The answers to some of these questions really are apparent. The USA is the #1 market for books and the native language is English, obviously. But some answers don’t become clear until you’ve established yourself as an author. If you’re just starting out, your demographics are likely to look like . . . you. Makes sense. You’re writing what you like, so it stands to reason that others like you might as well. By the release of book two, you’ll likely have discovered other traits that help broaden your perspective about your readers. Things like Facebook pages and Google Analytics (to track your website) can be a tremendous help.

Having said all this, there is one thing all these blogs and articles don’t mention—our faith. As Christians, we can’t ignore our beliefs when discussing audiences. Are you writing to the choir? Maybe you want to pull fence-sitters back to earth. Perhaps you’re called to reach the fallen, heathen world. Maybe it’s not a task of you finding your audience, but of God’s targeted audience finding you . . . and Christ through you. Knowing this, understanding God’s goal for your writing, is what really counts before writing your book.

So, you’re thinking, Okay. I’m getting a sense of who sits in my audience. What next? Well, stay tuned for Part 2.

Have you found your audience? How did you go about it?


Braxton DeGarmo spent over 30 years in Emergency and Family Medicine, both in and out of the military, before retiring to focus on writing in 2014. He writes from a Judeo-Christian worldview, but he writes his stories to reach and entertain people of all backgrounds. Many of the incidents in his books are based on real occurrences, people, and experiences in his own life, such as learning to escape a water crash in a helicopter. Human trafficking, medical kidnapping, government corruption, and other social injustices have become the premises used for his stories. And the technologies described in his books are all current . . . and possible. His latest novel, Kidnapped Nation, was released in April of this year and is book six in his MedAir Series of suspense and thrillers. Kill Zone: Ten Deadly Thrillers will remain available for a limited time after its release October 3rd.