Target Marketing

The Bookshevles at SF's Get Lost Bookstore are a Mixture of Travel Guide, Essay, & Narrative

The Bookshevles at SF's "Get Lost" Travel Store are a Mixture of Travel Guides, Essays, & Narratives

When you really think about target marketing, you’d be surprised at how many affinity readerships may be interested in your book. And how many of these groups have their own media channels

Experiential Affinities

People with whom you have shared experiences are target readers who often have dedicated “media channels.” Publicize through alumni magazines (college, high school, even some elementary schools have alumni magazines), family newsletters, collegial Facebook groups, military veteran organizations, church bulletins, etc.

Geographic Affinities

Neighborhood associations often have newsletters. Cafes and bookstores are potential reading venues. City newspapers and local radio stations support hometown authors. Don’t limit yourself to your current address. What about where you were born or where you grew up? When I was on my Able Was I book tour, I leveraged the native North Carolinian angle to secure a NC-wide NPR interview.

Demographic Affinities

Broad and narrow. Women authors are able to target the broad affinity of women readers. Additionally, African American 40+ women authors are able to target a narrower (but much stronger) demographically aligned readership.

Interest Affinities

Does your novel include a targetable interest?

  • Travel
    Do your characters live in or travel to exotic places? Do they spend A Year in Provence or bask Under the Tuscan Sun? Most travel sites/stores sell books, often including novels of wanderlust.
  • Animals
    Are there any four-legged characters in your novel? Dog people love dog books. Even Oprah (The Story of Edgar Sawtelle). Pet stores and sites sell books. Most are about breeding or training, but there are exceptions, like Wally’s World.
  • Occupation
    What profession is your protagonist? Can you play this up in a synopsis that would intrigue a media channel that markets to that profession? Scot Turrow and John Grisham have proven that lawyers love to both read and write legal novels.
  • Hobbies
    Do your characters surf, play baseball, or climb mountains? Check out the book section on

Literary Genres

Literature was probably divided into genres the moment the second novel was published. I’ve often heard (and said), “My novel is not easily pigeonholed into a genre.” While you should take pride in your novel’s originality, don’t shoot yourself in the foot. Genres have targeted agencies, publishers, media, distribution channels and allocation within distribution channels (i.e. bookstore shelves). As I said in my Genre Opportunities post, if your novel doesn’t fit into a well-defined literary genre, position it as if it does.

Below is a full list of Entrepreneurial Reluctances/e-Publishing lessons from my Top 10s blog post.

Entrepreneurial Reluctance

1. The Catalyst(s)

2. Good $ vs. Bad $

3. Risk Reduction

4. The Network Effect

5. Been There, Done That (serial entrepreneurialism)

6. The New New Thing

7. Emergence & Maslow

8. The Analogy of the Watch (moving parts)

9. A Clean Cap Table

10. Perseverance or Blinders

e-Publishing Reticence

1. False Deadlines

2. Readers & Editrs

3. Genre Opportunities

4. Target Marketing

5. Self-Promotion

6. Creating you Brand

7. The First Review

8. The Network Effect

9. Amazon Ranking

10. The Book Tour


3 thoughts on “Target Marketing

  1. Brilliant, timely post, Drew. I’ve often said, especially since working with you, that traditional publishing is for the lucky and self-publishing is for the hard-working. In your blog, you provide a helpful to-do list for the hard-working self publisher.

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