Find Your Readers with Ten Key Factors to Determine Target Demographics


Welcome to Level Five of The Writer’s Conquest, Target Demographics. As you write, there will likely be some people that will really want to read what you have to say. Others will find no interest. That might sting, but it’s the truth. If you try to please everyone, you’ll likely satisfy very few.

As amazing as YA dystopian fiction, or historical fiction may seem in your world, the truth of the matter is that there will be people that vehemently dislike the genre you select. As a result, it’s important that you find the right people to sell your work to, otherwise you’ll miss the mark and find yourself doing a book signing for your revenge thriller at an after-school coloring session.

A drastic example, for sure, but it goes to my first point, there are ten key factors you have to think about in order to determine who comprises your target demographic. Think about who your key demographic will be, and a potential secondary target that isn’t your likely choice.

1)   Age – How old are your readers? Tastes change, for most at least. As a result, what age range do you think will be most likely to see your front cover, read the back cover, and say, “Golly-Gee-Willickers! This book looks mighty swell!” I know; it’s as if I had a hidden camera in a bookstore. It seemed that realistic.

2)   Gender – Let’s face it, some books and genres are going to skew toward a certain gender. However, don’t sell on gender short instantly. Did you know 45% of video gamers are women? The second you think only one gender is buying your book, you’d better think about who may be out to prove themselves and go against the grain.

3)   Geography – Where are people living that are likeliest to purchase your work? Is your city aimed at urban residents, or those seeking a simpler life in rural settings?  Will your book sell better in a metropolis setting, or small bookstores in rural towns?

4)   Income Level – Will you be aiming for kids that rely on their parents, or a meager allowance? Or are you creating a limited edition, with exclusive binding, for collectors? What kind of income level will your reader be at when they want to buy this book? More importantly, what price point will your customers be willing to spend on your product?

5)   Education Level – This isn’t just dealing with kids, MG, & YA books. Education level is important. If you’ve acquired your MFA in Literature, and want to appeal to those at that same level of understanding, your book will be aiming for a much different audience than if you are wanting to simply create an easy, summer read.

6)   Reading Level – Closely related to Education Level, but never confuse the amount of education a person has directly to their reading ability. Some people have graduated with a Bachelor’s degree and somehow can’t formulate a cohesive sentence. A bigger argument and picture lies in there somewhere, but just focus on who you’re selling to first.

7)   Attitude – As I stated in The Writer’s Conquest episode, this isn’t referring to “Captain Sassy-pants” vs. “Admiral No-Worries.” This is looking at the attitude of your consumer. Are they web loyal? Tablet and eReaders only? Are they still seeking the small, family owned bookstore recommendations? What attitude does your consumer have about the reading experience? And more importantly, how can you indulge in, and enhance, that experience?

8)   Values – Definitely one worth looking at between two genres, Christian fiction versus graphic novels. You need to implement certain value systems into your narrative if you’re writing Christian fiction. At the same time, it’d better not be sunshine and puppy dogs if you’re creating a graphic novel for comic stores, unless that sunshine turns to apocalyptic flame that decimates said puppies.

9)   Lifestyle – What lifestyle does your reader live? It’s great to understand if they are adventurous and want books that indulge, or if someone is looking for peaceful reading that will bring them back to their childhood. Think about vicarious living too, are there readers that have always wanted to take a grandiose adventure on, but never found the courage? Can your book become that vicarious journey?

10)                  Loyalists – Will you be creating consistent reading experiences that demand loyalists for consistent business and recommendations to other consumers? Or will you be jumping genres and creating singular occasions that will require varying marketing techniques to find decent sales rates in your books?

All of these factors are important to me to factor in when writing. So what did I miss? Have you figured out your target demographic? Chime in with the comments section below; subscribe to receive the latest updates. I’m always on Twitter @ThomasAFowler, use the hash-tag #WritersConquest to express your concerns, challenges, and inquiries.  My YouTube channel for The Writer’s Conquest tackles a new topic in marketing and writing at least every two weeks. As always, kick some ass and be proud of what you do.

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8 thoughts on “Find Your Readers with Ten Key Factors to Determine Target Demographics

  1. Thomas, thank you. This is great information. My agent asked me for reader demographic information for a true crime book that I’m ghosting and after HOURS of looking, this is the first real information I’ve found. I’m at least one giant step closer to finding some hard information on who reads true crime books.

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