Critical Success Factors: Defining your book’s intended market
We at The Business Book Ghostwriters (BBG) have identified 14 Critical Success Factors (CSFs) for our clients. We are happy to e-mail the CSF document to you. However, we are expanding on the CSFs one by one in this blog. The following post focuses on the pitfalls of defining the intended market for a book. It’s not as easy as you might think.
Novice book authors typically have a broad and ambitious definition of their intended audience, but at BBG we rarely hear specifics. Instead, an author might claim anyone in business will want this book, or any C-level executives will need this book.
Here’s the reality: A book goes through the same product buying decision sequence of any consumer product. First, the intended audience has to become aware of the book. Next, the target has to develop some perception of the book that implies a personal or professional benefit, as in “That topic sounds like something I need.” But in the digital age of e-readers and search engines, the target might first ask another question: “How else can I conveniently access this same information?” The answer may not be a print book or even an e-book.
Consequently, book authors should specify target demographics. Example: 30 to 45 year old department managers of exempt (professional) employees in business-to-business operations. Another factor is psychographics, or how the intended prospect is influenced by personal values and priorities. Many people in their 20s and 30s are not avid book readers. They do not read newspapers. Many do not regard walking around a bookstore a quality-time experience.
The solution: Authors should survey 10-20 people in the prospect demographic profile and see how they react to the proposed title and the topic…and the author’s slant on that topic. Slant or point of view, especially a new slant, drives sales. The survey is essential because few authors can be objective about their own great idea. Authors need advice and counsel in the volatile book marketplace. At BBG, we see the mistakes every day.