Cre­ate an avatar for your tar­get au­di­ence

Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS & EDUCATION - Corine La Font Con­trib­u­tor

MANY AU­THORS have bril­liant ideas for books. It can be a per­sonal story or fic­ti­tious. No mat­ter what your idea may be, one of the first things out­side of your bril­liant idea for your book is to know your tar­get au­di­ence. Who will want the book? Who is it meant for? Why would they have an in­ter­est? All of these ques­tions need to be an­swered.

One way I sug­gest ap­proach­ing this is to cre­ate an avatar. Not the blue peo­ple in the James Cameron movie! But more along the lines of a char­ac­ter you will de­velop as an im­age in your mind, which should be trans­ferred on pa­per. It is best to have images or pic­tures near you when you do this. Con­sider it an ac­tiv­ity that you can do alone, or get your fam­ily or co-au­thor to be in­volved. Make it fun.


What does your tar­get au­di­ence look like?

Are they blue? Well no! But what race are they? Are you cater­ing to whites, blacks, Chi­nese, In­di­ans? What about eth­nic­ity? Is he/she/ Latino, Caribbean, or Na­tive In­dian? With the melt­ing pot of races and eth­nic­ity, you have to be as clear as you can about what your char­ac­ter looks like. In just the same way, you can de­scribe the char­ac­ters in your book and bring them to life, the same ap­plies to your tar­get au­di­ence. What is their age group? De­pend­ing on the type of book you have writ­ten, you need to know what age group would wish to con­sume your ma­te­rial, and the fol­low­ing cat­e­gories can give you an idea of the var­i­ous age groups: early adopters (6-12), teens/young adults (13-25), se­niors/re­tirees (50+), work­ing pro­fes­sion­als (30-50). Know­ing their age group also al­lows you to have an idea of the type of ac­tiv­i­ties in which they may get in­volved. This is cov­ered in the other ques­tion below. Where would you find them? Ques­tions to help you an­swer this ques­tion are:

Where do they live? What type of com­mu­nity? Where do they hang out? What schools do/did they at­tend? An­swers to these also help in tar­get­ing places to put your books. If you know where they are, then you know ex­actly where to go to mar­ket or to pro­mote your books. As men­tioned ear­lier, know­ing their age also helps you to know what sort of ac­tiv­i­ties they may get in­volved in such as cit­i­zens as­so­ci­a­tions for the el­ders, clubs and so­ci­eties, and per­sonal de­vel­op­ment and growth or­gan­i­sa­tions for the pro­fes­sion­als. For the younger group, you have sporting clubs and so­cials.


What do they like/don’t like? Your tar­get au­di­ence may be those who con­sume more au­dio than printed ma­te­rial. They spend a lot of time on the road or in traf­fic driv­ing, so they will pre­fer au­dio­books. They may be health en­thu­si­asts who go jog­ging or to the gym, so au­dios work well for that group. Oth­ers may be avid read­ers. How would you know? Fre­quent vis­its to the book stores, or you may al­ways see them with read­ing ma­te­rial, or you may go into their of­fice or home and see that they own a li­brary. How do they dress? Style of dress tells a lot about a per­son. It can sug­gest ap­prox­i­mate in­come, con­fi­dence, and value placed on self as well as pos­si­ble so­cial sta­tus. From mode of dress, you can as­sess an in­di­vid­ual to de­ter­mine the type of read­ing ma­te­rial that would in­ter­est that per­son. As an ex­am­ple, a pro­fes­sional in the 2550 age group would, there­fore, be in­ter­ested in books that speak to ed­u­ca­tion, self-con­fi­dence, climb­ing the cor­po­rate lad­der, travel, re­la­tion­ships, steps to success, and even liv­ing vi­car­i­ously.

So­cial sta­tus was men­tioned as the way some­one dresses al­ways pre­sumes a cer­tain stand­ing in so­ci­ety. It is also as­so­ci­ated with the type of friends your tar­get au­di­ence may have and who are the movers and shak­ers or in­flu­encers. Mov­ing to­wards this group of the tar­get mar­ket for cer­tain types of books will def­i­nitely land you in the right place.

Maybe, be­fore hav­ing the idea or ti­tle of your book, you should start with know­ing your tar­get au­di­ence and writ­ing books for that mar­ket. For, once you have the mar­ket, it is easy to get the books pro­moted, mar­keted, and gen­er­ate sales. A chicken-and-egg sit­u­a­tion? That’s de­bat­able and for an­other topic.

Ei­ther way, over time, this char­ac­ter you have cre­ated for your tar­get au­di­ence may change or evolve based on changes in trends and habits, so you have to keep cur­rent with these changes in or­der to ad­dress them in your up­com­ing books so you al­ways meet the needs of your au­di­ence.

Also bear in mind that you may have more than one tar­get au­di­ence. As in mar­ket­ing, you have var­i­ous seg­ments. The same ap­plies for your tar­get au­di­ence. You will have a pri­mary and sec­ondary tar­get au­di­ence each dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent or may pos­sess­ing some shared qual­i­ties.

It’s also time to start be­com­ing ob­ser­vant and hom­ing in on your sense of hear­ing as well. Don’t worry about eaves­drop­ping. You know how to do it. Be pur­pose­ful but not nosy. When you are out and about, sharpen these skills as it will lead you to your tar­get mar­ket.

Corine La Font is a speaker, au­thor, coach, and self-pub­lish­ing con­sul­tant. She is also an award­win­ning pub­lish­ing re­source in the 2013 Small Busi­ness Book Awards. Get a copy of her book at, Sub­scribe to her mag­a­zine at . Tune in to her ra­dio pro­grammes at http://www.blogtalkra­ es­kja and http://www.blogtalkra­­ping. Check out her web­site at She can be reached at

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