By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine
Writers have their own voice when telling their stories. But it occurred to me everyone has a voice.
Me as me and you as you. We share our voice with others. With our voice we share who we are.
That brings me to this. People who meet us, know us, are they clear on who we are, or do we wear a mask? In fact, are we clear on who we are?
Tad Hargrave, who has a knack for marketing, some have called him a marketing nerd, said, “As you find your voice the world becomes less confused with you. It becomes clear about who you are, and you become not a searchlight desperately looking for people, but a lighthouse. A beacon calling your ships to safe harbor.
What struck me in that quote was how writers may sometimes feel as if they are a searchlight looking for readers instead of the beacon leading readers to them.
Marketing can seem overwhelming to some authors. They aren’t sure what a marketing plan is and are unsure how to design a plan to promote their book.
But once the author knows their niche then a plan can be made to market to that specific group.
In other words, if you wrote a book about fly-fishing your niche would be people who fish. If you wrote a book about knitting the niche would be people who like to knit.
If you wrote books about private detectives in the 1940’s your niche would be different than a book about cowhands riding the range.
So, in finding a specific niche, you can listen to people when they tell you they liked your book.
What did they like most about your book? Ask them questions that get them to talking about their interest and passions. Especially questions about your book. Sit down and write out three questions you could ask a reader who has read your book that are important to you which would give you insight into what they liked, what they didn’t. Questions geared to their interest. This would enlighten you on what other readers might think and where and what that niche of marketing would be. Give them your card, and if you are writing another book, tell them. Ask them if they would be willing to give you their opinions on your book they’ve just read.
It’s best to remove the masks.The more you interact with your readers, the more they become invested in you and you in them.
They tell their family and friends they met you and talked to you. Through this, you become the lighthouse instead of the searchlight.