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6 Steps to Finding Your Target Market

For a tool even more powerful than target markets, check out Be Narrow-Minded: 11 Questions to Turn a Target Market into a Reader Profile.

Welcome to the keynote blog, if you will, of this week’s “Target Market” theme.

Here at Duolit, we are not just about helping our clients by providing information and services, we want to give you the tools to take matters in your own hands (after all, it is called self-publishing for a reason). Even if you decide to defer to us for help with your marketing, design and publishing needs, it’s still important to us to provide you with the power of knowledge. We are not the Great Oz, operating behind a velvet curtain. We are here to help not because you can’t do something, but because your time is often better spent doing what you do best — writing.

So far this week, we’ve told you about the Five Commandments of Target Markets, instructed you on how to avoid Book Design Fail #4: Forgetting Your Target Market, and shared personal stories of how hard this target market business can be. Now it’s time to shove aside the opening acts and get down to the main stage for the real show.Continue Reading

Don’t Think Your Book Needs a Target Market? Think Again!

This week at Duolit, we are investigating the ins and outs of target markets.

We decided to pursue this topic not only because we feel it’s extremely relevant to all of our readers, but because it’s very relevant to us as well. In marketing myself and my first novel as well as the Duolit business, we have struggled to find our target market just as much as everyone else. Without a research team (and a research budget to boot) it’s not easy to figure out who would want to buy your product and how to reach them.

Target market? We don’t need no stinkin’ target market!

No you sure don’t….if you don’t want to make any sales.

When I began writing my first novel, it was everything I could do to plan out my plot and characters in advance of writing. so as a result, I gave no additional thought to what would happen beyond the completion of my book, other than that I would feel accomplished (something I really needed given that I was unemployed and living with my mom and dad at the time).

Though I do feel that I told a good story and I certainly don’t regret writing it, not having a target market in mind before I began my book left me with few options for making sales. Not only did I choose to set my novel at Christmastime (limiting my sales primarily to the months of November and December), I also selected the background of my little hometown, St. Augustine, Fla. That left me with the ability to conceivably sell my book in my backyard over about a six week period before the busy Christmas holiday. Even with a planned marketing strategy and several book signings and appearances in December, it was a tooth-and-nail struggle to sell just about 200 copies of my book in two years.

As authors, we are often forced to decide whether we want to tell a great story or write something that’s going to earn us a living. This is not an easy decision. I’ve been struggling with this choice a lot lately as I’m trying to develop a second novel. Somewhere rolling around in the open cavity of mind, I have two story ideas: one a more interesting, literary fiction piece and one a more common, commercial fiction piece. The little artist on my left shoulder encourages me to pursue the creative piece while the little wallet on my right shoulder says I should take the advice I dish out here at Duolit and write what I know will sell.

I’m still debating.Continue Reading

5 Commandments of Target Markets (or, Find the Bullseye Before You Shoot)

On our recent excursion to Disney World, we began our day of adventures in the Land of Mouse with a little friendly competition on the famed Buzz Lightyear ride. And when I say friendly competition, what I really mean is a cutthroat contest of wills with the most important prize of all on the line: pride.

photo by kjenkinsduffy

If you’ve never experienced the glory of Buzz, let me explain the concept: A line of two-person cars moves slowly through the blacklighted landscape of Emperor Zurg’s world while the car’s occupants use laser guns to shoot at thousands of targets placed throughout the ride. You can spin the car 360° but can’t change the speed of the ride or manipulate any of the targets (many of which are moving themselves). At the end of the ride, your score is displayed. High score wins. Low score is mocked for the rest of the day.

My strategy was simple: Pull the trigger as many times as possible while swirling the gun around for maximum coverage. Since there’s no penalty for misses, I figured a mass spray was the way to go. At the end of the ride, I proudly smiled at my score (49,980) and turned to Toni in the car behind me, ready to boast about my win.

She scored 130,457.

While I was randomly spraying the room with laser shots, Toni was specifically aiming for the moving targets around the room that were worth more points. She probably hit half the targets that I did, but hers counted for more.

Here’s what you should take away from this: In the marketing world, Toni’s targeted strategy is the one that will get your self-published book on best-seller lists, not mine.

I’ve marketed sports teams, small businesses and aspiring writers, and across all three mediums there is one thing that all three have in common: They don’t know who their target market is.  This is such a major issue that we’ve decided to devote a series of blog posts to finding your target market.

Today, we’re going to lay down the Five Commandments of Target Markets (so listen up!):

Continue Reading

21 Author Blog Post Ideas

by Rennett Stowe

You followed the 14 Steps to Launch Your Author Blog.

Your first week went by swimmingly, but now you’re left staring at a blinking cursor and a blank page. They silently mock your attempts at coherent and relevant thought.

Blink. Blink blink.

Mock. Mock mock.

You surf through the news, see what’s happening on Twitter and check your e-mail for the eleventh time in ten minutes, but still — nothing.

Blink. Blink. Blink.

Fear not! Everyone experiences blogging block from time to time. Our goal here is to assemble a big honkin’ list of author blog post ideas. This way, we all have a reference to turn to when feeling that dreaded grip of…nothingness.

If you have a topic to add, please leave a comment and I’ll add your ideas to the list.Continue Reading

14 Steps to Launch Your Author Blog — Today!

by Mike Licht

120,000 new blogs created. Over 1.4 million posts published.

What’s that, every year? Guess again.

That’s every day. Every. Single. Day.

Kind of a terrifying, huh? When you hear numbers like that, it’s easy to think that blogging is futile. After all, with that many blogs and posts, who’s going to read what I have to say?

But check this out: over 57 million people read blogs daily. And that’s just in the US. Granted, a bunch of those people are reading the bigger blogs, but still.

Here’s the good news: if you do some planning up-front, not only will your blog be read, it will also win you loyal readers who stick with you throughout your career.

Even better news: you can get started at any time — even right now!Continue Reading