When I began the self-publishing journey in March of this year, I greatly underestimated the importance of having an audience (or platform). As I continue on my trek, I’ve learned that finding your target audience is critical. After all, most people write to be heard, I’m no exception. In my naiveté, I thought if I wrote a good story and threw it on Amazon, people would find me. Clearly, that’s not how it works. Discovering who resonates with your story or with what you have to say is tough, especially if you’re naturally shy, and a little reserved (like me!). However, discovering your audience is tantamount to gaining any real success with selling your product, or conveying your message. My own experience of finding my audience has been a somewhat of a trial and error process. I’m still looking for my peeps. I know they’re out there somewhere!
Initially, I thought my story would resonate with people of a certain age group (~18-30), of a certain gender (female) that enjoy reading fast-paced thrillers coupled with family drama. I still think that’s part of my audience. Nonetheless, after reading Gary McLaren’s article about platform building and the importance of marketing to yourself first, I revisited my initial assumption. Maybe I was going about attracting an audience the wrong way? Essentially, the key to discovering my audience begins with me. Who am I and what do I enjoy doing, reading, and watching?
While I’m sure age range and other demographic factors play a role in attracting an audience to your story, I’ve found that actively engaging with others really is one of the most important things that can attract (or repel) a potential audience. As someone once told me on Google+, hard selling on social media is, well… a hard sell. It’s difficult to get people to buy what you’re selling or hear what you’re saying if you don’t connect with them. So, I got down to basics.
I am Stephanie, a married black female who’s from Georgia. I’m at that stage in life where I’ll say farewell to my 20’s this December. I enjoy writing and having good conversations with people over a cocktail, a good meal, or hell, even social media. I also have a dark sense of humor (well more so crude). I love music across all genres (I’m nostalgic for early to mid 90’s alternative in particular). I‘m also eclectic when it comes to reading genres. I don’t really have a set genre that I enjoy because I tend to go through phases. Sometimes I’ll kick my heels up to a good romance, or sometimes I’ll get down with an addictive murder/mystery (right now I’m coming out of a romance spell). I love sci-fi television (e.g. Humans, Doctor Who), thought provoking stuff (Mr. Robot, The Walking Dead, Snowpiercer), as well as some horror (the clown from It still creeps me out) and action packed entertainment (Sons of Anarchy is one of my favorites!). All of that is just for starters! I’m sure someone out there can connect with me just from that little bit of information alone.
The point of me sharing all of that about myself is to emphasize that people like authenticity and getting to know who you are, not just what you’re pushing. Hell, I even go through people’s timelines or posts to see if there are things that I have in common with them, as stalker-ish as that may sound. Furthermore, I actively reach out to people who have said or posted things that are particularly interesting to me, not only by hitting a “like” button, but by commenting. I’m hoping to build my audience by connecting with others based off of things that we mutually enjoy. With all that being said, who would of thought finding an audience is a lot like finding a mate? It’s definitely a reciprocal relationship. For all those seeking (or already found) an audience, I would love to hear any comments about your journey. Leave a comment on the post or find me on social media!