A lot of writers want to write their story without doing any kind of extra research. But, it is really important to research your target audience. At first glance, this research might not seem like it would help your story, or help you write your story. Quite the opposite, being influenced by the desires of your audience while you write your story, might contribute to developing a writer’s block. However, there are several benefits that you can gain. It will never hurt to know what your targeted readers – essentially your readers – want to read. Instead of looking at it as a limitation, you can use the knowledge you will gain by your research as a guideline. Below, we’ve gathered several methods which you can use to get to know your readers. These methods are to be used for both fiction and non-fiction, and may be of use to any writer who wants to build their own brand and market his or her book to the right readers.
1. Use social media
Today, so many authors use social media that it has become a necessity that every writer needs a special, professional profile on almost every platform, from Facebook through to Twitter and Instagram. However, social media doesn’t only allow you to connect with your readers. Social media also gives you the opportunity to research your readers’ likes and dislikes, as well as which readers follow which authors; this will help you define your target audience.
2. Positive reviews
More often than not, readers will leave a review for a book they’ve read. A good way to research into your readers’ tastes is to see their reviews. This doesn’t mean you should only read the reviews the readers have given your book, but of other books that fall into the category, genre or niche you write in, as well. Positive reviews (meaning the book has been rated with three or more stars) will let you know what most of the readers liked about the book, and as stated above, you can use this as a guideline for your own story, and stop yourself from making a mistake (whether in plot or in style) that your readers wouldn’t like.
3. Negative reviews
On the other hand, negative reviews are a hit or a miss when it comes to research. Negative reviews are harsher by nature – and some of them can be quite unnecessarily cruel. However, that doesn’t mean all negative reviews of books similar to your book should be ignored. You just have to find the ones that are objective and impartial – this means that at least, in the point of view of the reader, the review has been just. Reading and reviewing is subjective by nature, which is why it will help if you knew what your readers like and don’t like about a particular book.
4. Poll your existing readers
Some authors take the time to ask their readers what they are reading that particular week or month. This is a very good strategy, because it allows you to learn how your readers’ tastes have developed since the last time you published a book. Even if you already know that your readers enjoy what you write, polling your readers will give you direct insight into what they will like to read from you, in particular, especially if you ask them directly. These polls or surveys shouldn’t be too long to answer; usually one question is enough to glean plenty of knowledge. The goal here is to keep in touch with your readers, and to be aware of what they want to read.
5. Define your new hook
Once you’ve researched your target audience’s likes and dislikes when it comes to stories, you need to find your own hook. This is where the research pays off – you have a direction in which you can go. Remember, the niche you’re writing in will probably already have plenty of books to compete with yours. This means you must find your hook. For example, maybe you want to write a vampire story. Since there are plenty of vampire books, you must present not only an original story with a unique plotline, you must present a new interpretation of the term “vampire.” This is true for any genre and any niche, which is why knowing your target audience means so much in today’s writing world.
Image credit: Pixabay [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic. As an art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.