“Simply your writing. Write the stories that you think your top 100 will love. Don’t have 100? If you keep making an appearance in person, on social media, in writing guest posts on blogs, that 100 will materialize. If you keep writing and quit banking on one book. If you keep reminding the few you have in a newsletter who you are (avoiding saying BUY MY BOOK), that 100 will happen.”
All sorts of people ask writers about their target audiences. I suppose if you write in a genre, that helps define your prospective audience. Or, if you write folk tales set in a defined region of the country, then you might hope the people who live there are part of your target audience. But if you look at demographics, checking to see how many readers like your genre and how many people live where your stories are set, the numbers are quite large.
When we invite people over to dinner, whether a barbecue or a sit-down affair in the dining room, we often struggle trying to make sure we have a compatible group. You might like the Smiths and the Johnsons, but they don’t like each other. So, you decide you won’t try to please them both and avoid inviting them over on the same night.
I see Hope Clark’s top 100 readers as a solution to the struggles we go through trying to please everyone who might read our genre or live in the states where we set our stories. Since those 100 people interact with us in the social media, read and talk about our books, and sometimes post a review to Amazon or GoodReads, when we please them, we are doing the best we can do.
By that I mean, if a group of people waits for your stories, that’s the audience you know and trust. If they think you’re doing a good job, then chances are you’re at the top of your game whether you outsell James Patterson or Jo Rowling. It’s hard to figure out what a million readers might want. But a hundred? Now we have a goal that’s less stressful and more manageable.
Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “Lena,” a magical realism novel set in Florida that’s published by Thomas-Jacob Publishing in paperback, e-book, audiobook, and hardback editions. The well-reviewed audiobook is narrated by Holly Palance, Jack Palance’s daughter.