Stop marketing and start writing is my motto this year of 2013. I’ve noticed that there has been a tremendous emphasis on tweeting and Facebooking and other types of marketing and social media marketing and I think that’s great, if you have the most important thing of all, a great book.
And not even a great book, a phenomenal book, a buzz-worthy, spread-worthy, share-worthy book that sparks word-of-mouth. Without it, you can tweet until your fingers bleed and it’s not going to do anything and certainly not going to sell anymore books or help you build your audience.
I’m telling you, you don’t even have to be a great writer. You just need to be a phenomenal storyteller. There are many huge authors who people say aren’t great writers and they don’t care because they’re writing for their audience. (More on that later)
I’ve interviewed hundreds of authors and all of the huge ones, especially those that top the Forbes World’s Highest Paid Authors year-after-year all have one thing in common, they’ve all told me one of their secrets to their success is that they write for their audience, they don’t write for themselves. On a rare occasion, they are the same audience they’re writing for but not very often.
As my favorite author, Nicholas Sparks says, “write what readers want to read, which isn’t necessarily what you want to write.”
James Patterson told me he thinks about ” the kind of audience with whom I’m talking to and what they might be interested in. ”
CJ Lyons advised authors to, “Re-write your damn good book with your reader in mind. With every decision ask yourself: what would delight my readers?”
They all aim to write a share-worthy book for their audience.
How do you write a share-worthy book for their audience? If you are aiming to sell a lot of books too and not just books for the very small literary fiction-loving niche audience, keep these tips in mind when you’re writing or rewriting your books:
1) Know who your audience is. And I mean, as specific as possible. Don’t try to appeal to everyone, not yet. Not everyone likes Diary of a Wimpy Kid, not everyone likes $100 Start Up or even War and Peace. Each of those books were written for a specific audience. When’s the last time you saw a 6-year-old little girl reading Anna Karenina from cover to cover?
2) Write for your audience. After you know who your audience is and you know their likes and dislikes and you know what they want and what they don’t want, write your book in a language they they would appreciate. Shape your sentences, your mentality, everything you do so that your writing will appeal to them and them alone. When I’m writing kids books for 4-8 year-olds, I write them totally different than when I’m writing eBooks for the entrepreneurial audience (at least I hope I do).
3) Tell them what they want to hear in the way they want to do hear it. Simple but profound advice if you really let it sink into you. That’s some advice a really huge author whose sold over 500 million copies of his books told me. Since you know who your audience is and you’re writing for them, and you know what they want, you need to tell them what they want to hear. What do I mean by that? If you’re writing a vacation book about the beauty of Costa Rica, the people who are buying it want to hear about how lush, fun, gorgeous and friendly the country is. They don’t want to hear about the poverty or the diseases or the venomous snakes. If you want to tell them that, then write a different book. These people are paying good money for your book, give them what they want! People tend to buy what they want, not what they need.