Authors Have Two Audiences—not One

Two Audiences Pic

Marketing is most effective when the content, packaging, and marketing are all geared toward attracting the target audience.

But there’s a catch: There isn’t just one audience; there are two.

One audience consists of the readers who are likely to enjoy your book, but who haven’t read it yet. The second audience includes fans who have already read your book.

This distinction is important.

For example, a fan doesn’t need to see reminders or hints to purchase a book that he or she has already read. A fan who enjoyed the book enough to find your blog or email you would probably enjoy bonus material.

On the other hand, if you catch the interest of people who read your genre who haven’t read your book, you want to give them opportunities to discover your book. Some supplemental material is less likely to interest people who haven’t read your book—especially fiction, maps, images, or poems that are best understood by someone who is familiar with the book.

Fans may be interested in learning more about you on your blog, whereas content relevant for your target audience is more likely to attract new readers to your blog. You could mix in a little of each, or you can put some of this on a fan page.

If you have a series, fans are looking forward to the release of your next book, whereas you want new readers to discover the first volume.

When you promote a temporary sale price, you want new readers to learn about this, while fans might be a little frustrated to see the discount if they paid full price.

When you interact with people in person or online, if you’re able to determine whether or not they have read your book, this can help you. For example, when communicating by email, you can have a signature line that links to your book for people who haven’t read your book, but a signature line that links to a fan page that has supplemental material for fans.

Part of your online platform should be geared toward new readers, while there should also be some place that fans will appreciate.

Think about your dual audience and how it might impact your marketing efforts. For one, marketing pages that you include at the end of the book should be geared toward fans, since, obviously, they have already read your book.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

18 comments on “Authors Have Two Audiences—not One

  1. This is always the hardest part, isn’t it? I’ve found that making catchy tweets and FB posts can help. Try to appeal to various audiences, which fantasy can do. You have drama, action, horror, and humor if you play your cards right. One thing I’ve found is that nothing you do can hit every audience, so you have to pick and choose who you’re aiming for with each attempt.

  2. Thanks, Chris. I never considered this – but it’s important in a series. Maybe tidbits for existing readers could be included in the back of the book.

    Are you at the point where you can give us some advance titillation about your sci-fi book in progress?

  3. I have often had that feeling – when an author not only reduces the price of a book I already bought, but makes me feel like an idiot for not waiting for the sale!

    So I guess the aim is to trigger the second group into trying your book, without annoying the fans.

    I like your idea of having different things available for both groups – maybe one should send out a link to new material to the old fans (the ones who have signed up for a newletter?) as a prize/lagniappe at the same time when marketing to potential new fans with free or reduced price books. Keep ’em BOTH happy.

    I’ve had that vague idea wandering around my brain, and never pinned it down as well as you did. Thanks!


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