Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Finding your Audience

by Anna Jones Buttimore

My first book, Haven, was recently republished in a revised and updated edition with a beautiful new cover. I'm pretty thrilled about that, which is probably why I keep harping on about it.

First time round it was very successful, and I still have a folder labelled "fan mail" with all the emails I received from readers who loved it. So naturally as the Amazon reviews start going up I'm looking eagerly to see what readers thought of it.

Most reviewers so far seem to like the gentle pace of the story, the descriptions of the scenery, and the writing. However, there is one common theme:

"If you're not Mormon, this book is probably not your cup of tea."

"I certainly couldn't imagine my non-LDS friends enjoying the read at all."

"I found the amount of Mormon talk in this novel a bit annoying."

It is a very "Mormon" book. The central theme is how the kindness and faith of one woman can positively impact the lives of everyone she comes into contact with. When I wrote the book I was a new convert, dizzy with the wonder of Mormon culture and the joy of the gospel, and I think it shows. (I've calmed down a bit since, as you will probably be able to tell when the next two books in the trilogy are released.) 

As a rule of thumb, your target audience is people in the same demographic as your main character. So, Twilight is for seventeen-year-old girls, and Harry Potter is for children from about eleven years old. People like reading about people they can relate to, people like themselves. Haven's protagonist is over fifty and dyed-in-the-wool faithful LDS. When I look back over the emails I received fourteen years ago, most of those who wrote to me were older women and they were all LDS. 

For writers, it's important to market your books to the right groups. Whether it's your first book or your twentieth, it can help to know your target audience, and know where to find them. 

So if you want to read one of my books but you're not Mormon, can I recommend No Escape or Emon and the EmperorBut if you're looking for a great Christmas gift for your ordinance worker mother, or your Relief Society President, you can buy Haven by clicking on this link.

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