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Banned!



One activity which I imagine many of us are engaged in is trying to find our audience. My knowledge of this topic was laughable compared to what I have learned over the last few years.


I was trying to understand who would appreciate and enjoy my books, and this has taken some time. At first I presumed that whilst many people would like historical fiction (and in particular the Tudor period), others would enjoy humour and pathos, but it took me a while to realise that my thoughts weren’t particularly scientific.


I researched the genres that people enjoyed in various countries. For those of you who have advertised on Facebook, you will understand it is all too easy to advertise to an entire continent.


I started by testing the USA waters to see how they would respond. After some research, I awoke to the reality that there were different reading habits in different states and that education influenced reading habits, as did age, political affinity, belief and gender.


Now, I almost always advertise in the UK because it’s a reliable audience, but I spent some time looking at worldwide statistics relating to people’s reading habits. I did not have a specific audience in mind for my books. Most self-published authors I speak to seem to agree that it is people who are older who buy books and I think this simply means that this audience reads more and buys more. I’m certainly not complaining. I have many kind people who respond to my work.


But it took me a while to realise that there isn’t an even playing field across the world. Books are banned in many countries, and for many reasons; taste, religious, right wing/left wing politics, salacious or gory novels, and so forth. There are countries which ban books wholesale for propaganda reasons, and this will influence how our books are received internationally. As I write about the reformation in the 16th century, I reference the Bible and its texts more than once. I’d be a fool to market in one of the 52 countries where it is banned :)


Finding your audience is complex, and I found it difficult, but I got there. You may struggle with this, but there is help out there, although I would suggest that first you research and start testing.


The reception by Americans particularly fascinated me in that some understandably did not get northern English humour, whilst others who have stated that they like (for instance), 'Monty Python' love quirky English novels. One mailed me to say that he and his wife had returned to York to seek the locations mentioned in the novel.


During our interactions at Meet The Authors, marketing is the area that most people ask for help with. But, like the rest of the self-published author's arduous journey, it is achievable at low cost if you put in the time.


A final tip: I once used KDP select only to realise that my books were going ‘free’ to people who would normally never choose them, leading to dubious reviews. Personally, I would not do it again.


Yet again, I am leaving you a link to ‘WordsRated’ where there is greater detail on this subject.





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This makes a lot of sense. I’m still very early on in my marketing journey but quickly realising that that the people I thought would be definitely be interested in what I write are usually the ones to blank me or don’t want me in their space. It’s a bit like tip toeing into new places to sound out the reactions. My mind is certainly opening up to the necessity of different audiences and I have decided for the moment to follow the encouraging smiles when I find them and see where they lead.

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