How To Define Your Book’s Target Audience In 6 Steps

book club discussing a novel

Defining and engaging your target market is crucial when it comes to promotion, and these six steps can help you build your reader personas.

We all know that writing a book is no small feat. And once that’s done, it’s time to bring your book to market, where you might discover that finding your target audience is even more difficult than the actual writing of the book.

Defining and engaging your target market is crucial when it comes to promotion (in fact, it’s critical to understand your reader as you’re writing your book). Your book will be less likely to connect with readers and may struggle to get momentum in the market if you don’t know who your target demographic is. So let’s consider six steps you can take to define your target audience and help make sure your book finds success.

1. Identify your book’s genre

You must know what book genre your work belongs in to start identifying your target readership. Does your title fit in romance, self-help, historical fiction, or some other category? Your target audience can be more precisely defined if you are specific about the genre.

Sometimes, authors make mistakes in their category selection, which makes it difficult to reach the reading audience most likely to appreciate the work. For example, if you wrote a children’s picture book about the benefits of healthy eating, it’s likely still a children’s book and doesn’t belong in the health and wellness section of the bookstore.

2. Consider the themes in your book

What are your book’s main themes? Are you writing about social justice, environmental conservation, or personal development? You can start to consider who could be interested in reading your book by figuring out the themes. Maybe you have a thriller that includes a theme about Broadway. Theatergoers may love the book!

3. Borrow from your personal experiences

Numerous authors discuss their own life experiences in their works. Consider who might have similar experiences to you. How might you reach them? For instance, if you are writing about overcoming addiction, your intended audience will likely include those who are battling addiction, have overcome it, or have a loved one who is.

4. Conduct market research

Identifying your target audience requires you to conduct market research. You can start by doing searches for titles on Amazon and other book retailers to get a feel for what categories they fall into and how they position their books in the market. Who is their audience and how are these authors speaking to them? Who are the books’ intended readers? What are their reading preferences, hobbies, and demographics? You can use this information to identify potential members of your target audience.

5. Define your ideal reader personas

Armed with the above information, it’s time to start defining your ideal reader. Who are these readers you are writing for? What are their interests, occupations, ages, and genders? This is how you can build what we refer to as “reader personas.” Name each persona for clarity. Your marketing and promotional efforts become much easier to customize the more precise your definition of your ideal reader can be — and your book may appeal to multiple reader personas, which may mean you have different opportunities to reach them.

6. Test your thoughts

It’s a good idea to put your target audience beliefs and theories to the test. You can achieve this by distributing your draft to beta readers and asking for input. Inquire about who the target audience might be from their perspectives. You can use this input to improve your understanding of your target market and refine your targeting strategies.

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Determining your target audience is an essential step in positioning your book in the marketplace for success. It’s important to keep in mind that the more precise you can be in describing your target audience, the more likely it is that your marketing efforts will be effective in winning new readers for your work.


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  1. Hello Jim Foley, It is good to see you. I loved music while growing up in the Fiji Islands. I played Harmonica, Flute and Mandolin (typewriter Key Type). My book title is From Fiji to America: An Immigrant Story. The book was published on October 5, 2022 and is on Thanks for your help and support.


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