I have just taken a great online marketing course with the ever-helpful Laura Pepper Wu of http://www.30daybooks.com/ and I wanted to share with you one of her excellent exercises: how to profile your ideal reader.
Now, you might wonder why this would be useful, but believe me, it is!
If you can get right inside the head of your absolutely perfect, totally targeted ideal reader, then you know exactly what they want to hear when you write your next book description, sales pitch, or marketing blurb of any variety, and you’ll write it in a language that speaks directly to them.
So, this exercise (thanks Laura for allowing me to share) asks the following questions, and I’ve included my answers in brackets:
- what age are they? (26)
- male or female? (female)
- where do they live? – describe it a bit (In a country village, near a smaller city with easy access to country and town, but also to open spaces and clean air. Pretty countryside, probably near mountains.)
- family/relationship situation? (Single, still looking for ‘the one’. Few family and not close.)
- what sort of life do they live – work, hobbies, how do they fill their spare time? (Fairly tedious secretarial work. Hobbies – DIY horse keeping, riding in the countryside, dancing, mountain scrambling.)
- what are their guilty pleasures? (Watching rom coms, fantasy, and spy movies. Chocolate.)
- What sort of car do they drive, if they drive? (Mini)
- favourite food? (Chicken curry)
- what magazines, blogs, websites do they read? (Horsey and LOTR and fantasy related.)
Next, write a journal entry for this fictitious person, getting as in depth into their psyche as you can – a bit like creating a character for one of your books.
So please welcome my ideal reader – Jane Smith, take it away!
Entry in the journal of Jane Smith, 26, legal secretary, SWF still looking for ‘the one’.
Seriously boring day at work. Again. I want some excitement in my life.
Plans for the weekend: take my pony for a little ride – thank goodness I never grew too tall as I’ve had her since I was 14 and she isn’t very big. She’s only up for a little light hacking these days but it’ll be nice if the weather holds.
Then on to meet Karen for a good long walk, maybe even a bit of a scramble if the promised rain doesn’t arrive, and the peaks stay visible – I’ve been lost once in fog and I’ve no intention of doing it again.
That load of exercise will help work up a great appetite and then, yes! Indulgence time! Time to ditch the diet for the weekend.
Chicken Korma – found a new recipe I want to try out. And then I’m going to light the fire and curl up with a movie. The Hobbit or James Bond? I just wish Mr Bond would show some character development. Maybe Mr and Mrs Smith? Or even the extended version of Lord of the Rings?
Whatever, it’ll go down well with wine and chocolate.
And so, to bed. With a good book, of course.
My job is boring, and the real world is so often tragic – I want to be entertained. I want a gorgeous man to drool over (seeing as I can’t find one elsewhere) and a beautiful but unassailable woman, who needs him to jump through all the hoops I’d love to set, just to be really sure he loved me. Of course, in the end they’ll have to get together – but only at the very end.
I want to be transported to a world far from this mundane one, rich with princes and princesses, horses and dragons, history and magic – something completely different to my everyday life. I want to lose myself in their exciting, lavish lives, and if they have to suffer along the way, so be it – I want to watch them develop and change, I want to be there when they discover they have abilities they never knew, that they have secret histories, that they are not who they always thought they were. I want to see treachery and fighting, and an impossible goal that there is no way they can achieve, and yet they’re going to. And I’m going to be surprised and awed by how they do it – before that final kiss, of course.
Mmm. Can’t wait.
So there you have it. My ideal reader says:
My job is boring, and the real world is so often tragic – I want to be entertained
I want a gorgeous man to drool over
I want to be transported to a world far from this mundane one,
I want to lose myself in their exciting, lavish lives
And now I have the words to tell her precisely how and why my books will appeal to her – and hence why she should buy them 🙂
Give it a go yourself, or have you already used this exercise?
Who is your ideal reader – I’d love to know.