Finding the Right Audience
Lately, I’ve been answering questions on how I am going about promoting my book, A Story of the West. Since I knew nothing about marketing when it was published, I’ve had to learn by reading books and articles on the subject, and by asking questions on author forums.
One marketing tool that’s suggested is that I find my book’s target audience and promote to those readers. That probably sound advice, but there’s one problem. My book doesn’t seem to have a specific audience.
It’s listed as historical fiction. I’ve searched, but haven’t come across a specific definition of what that means. There doesn’t seem to be a set time, over fifty years ago for example, to quantify historical fiction. Apparently a book can take place in fairly recent times and still be considered historical. That’s a broad classification. The implication is that books within that genre are historically accurate, but that’s also open to interpretation.
For a while, I tried to be more precise and pushed my book as a Western. That approach quickly fizzled after I tried to write a blurb for it. When I finished, the description sounded like your basic shoot-‘em-up, Old West story. Even though it takes place in the American West during the 1880s, and there is plenty of action, that label doesn’t really describe it.
Lately, two reviews focused more on the love story. While that’s part of the plot and might work to catch the attention of female readers, there are also male readers to consider. While I imagine that some men hesitate to read A Story of the West because they think it will be a “little woman on the prairie,” type of story, others have picked it up and enjoyed it. It definitely can’t be categorized as romance.
Personally I think people get way too hung up on genres. Recently I have done some interviews and one question I am asked is, “What’s your favorite genre?” My reply is that I don’t have one. While there are subjects that entice me to open a book, I am just as interested in an engaging plot. If the author tells a compelling story and I like her/his style of writing, there’s a good chance I will enjoy the book no matter the when or where, or the who or what for that matter. Reading is about broadening my experiences.
I still haven’t answered the question of who my target audience is. As long as I keep getting positive reviews, I’m not too worried because word of mouth is still an excellent, and probably the best, way for a book to get noticed.