Who is your reader?

Gabriela Pereira is the author of DIYMFA, which as the title suggests is a do-it-yourself compendium that provides step-by-step instructions for being a working writer.  I have read it closely, and I strongly recommend it.  She is clear, concrete, helpful, and unpretentious.

Part of how she managed to get her book published was that her on-line community was already in existence–and it’s a huge community.  Her “Word Nerds” as she calls them are very attached to her.

She’s an expert platform-builder who knows her audience, is clear about what she does, and provides excellent content.  She’s also a killer acronym-coiner, and this webinar was about the ABCs of platform building:  Audience, Brand, and Content (plus D&E, Development and Expand).  Here’s one excellent suggestion she offered:

Find your readers.

In order to find the people who will read your book, write yourself a fan letter.*  What does your imaginary reader (a version of yourself, of course) like about your work?  Figure out a “comp” title that most resembles those aspects of your writing.

Go look at Amazon or Goodreads reviews of that book, just the 2, 3, and 4 star ones (to avoid people with an axe to grind or those who are just raving about it).  Check out what they have to say.  Look for repeating patterns.  Then repeat:  Look at the “Readers Also Enjoyed” titles that Amazon or Goodreads suggests, and read those reviews.  Their algorithms do a lot of the work for you.

Once you have figured out who your readers are, you know more about what they want, and you can offer it to them.  And don’t try to do everything.  Instead of trying to be everywhere on social media, pick a “home” – ideally your own blog or website, because other social media sites can change the rules on you – and invite your readers to your home.

She’s offering an in-depth course on building platform called Pixels to Platform, which I can’t afford right now, but it sounds like a great investment.

Next: C.J. Cherryh – Why Science Fiction?
* An embarrassing undertaking. But I did it.
† Terry Pratchett, for some of my books. Definitely fantasy, but neither high fantasy nor urban fantasy. Perhaps “snarky fantasy.” Shall have to see if there is anything that fits the bill. Suggestions?
‡ Oh, lord, I just went and read a comment on Nameless Magery:  “In a genre so laden with heavy, solemn tales that take themselves far too seriously, this engaging, lighthearted tale sparkles.”  Well, though I am apparently sparkly, at least I don’t take myself far too seriously.

7 thoughts on “Who is your reader?

  1. Glynis Jolly says:

    Although the price of Gabriela course is reasonable, I can’t afford it. Still, I did catch the webinar earlier today. The information was basic but there were parts of it I hadn’t considered before so I’m glad I took advantage of the opportunity.

  2. Greta says:

    For snarky fantasy, I highly recommend Neal Stephenson. I’m re-reading Zodiac right now, but Snow Crash was my sister’s favorite (She read every Terry Pratchett book she could get her hands on during chemo….)
    Thank you for this post. Lots to digest and ponder.

  3. Carolyn McBride says:

    Speaking as one of the aforementioned ‘Word Nerds’, I can tell you that Gabriela is wise beyond her years. She’s full of great advice.
    I enjoyed your post. I look forward to the next one!

    1. DMT says:

      I’m wondering whether it’s kosher to reach out to reviewers to ask if they want to subscribe to the blog? Another piece of build-your-platform-advice from a different sources says that e-mails of your readers are your most precious commodity.

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