You Have to Stand Out



There’s a few message boards that are great for writers, and that’s nice, but you want ones that are great for readers and don’t have too many other authors poaching on your territory.That’s why I suggest you join message boards that revolve around your topic but are not about books, if you can.

For example, if you wrote a novel about Christopher Columbus and his secret love life with a Native American girl, you might think about joining a historical board, or one for Spaniards or Native Americans. There shouldn’t be too many writers on those boards and that way you’ll stand out.

There is still a lot of cache to authors. People still do a collective gasp if they find out you’re an author because about 80% of Americans says they would love to write a book one day, and most of them never do. Those are the types of boards you want to join. After you come across a few ideal message boards, there’s still something you need to be aware of.


So Many Message Boards, How Do I Choose?


When searching for an appropriate message board to sign up for, it’s a bit of a numbers game and it’s kind of like going to a club. Remember when you were younger and you wanted to meet someone. If you went to a club with just two people there, you didn’t have very many chances, did you?And what if neither of them looked attractive to you or acted like snobs?

Instead, it’s better to go to a club with a lot of people. Not so many that you have to squeeze your way through the crowd, but enough to have a multitude of choices. The same thing goes when you’re selecting a message board.You want to choose one with the right amount of people.

The best number to go by is at least 5000 people, because about 10-25% of them will be active (meaning they don’t just come there once every 10 years), and those are the people you want to create relationships with, because if they like your book, they’ll talk about it, and what they say holds a lot of clout on the message board.


Do Your Research

Woman-at-Laptop-with-LinkedIn-Screen-TransparentOnce you know exactly who your target audience is, it’s relatively simple to find them. It could be as simple as typing in the words message boards or forums with your target market being moms or Asian moms, mechanics or mechanics in Oregon.

Since we know so much about them, including what other books they read and where our book would be shelved, we can also type in message boards with the title of a book similar to yours or the name of the author.

Get online and start exploring. Spend time getting accustomed to searching for message boards you’d like to join, but before you make any decisions, there are still a few things you need to consider.


Who’s Looking For Your Novel?


Now that you’ve reviewed the target market’s of novels similar to yours, and you have a solid idea of what kind of person your main character relates to, you’re ready to take the third and final step in identifying your target audience.

Close your eyes. No, really, close your eyes and picture in your mind’s eye someone in a library grabbing your book. What do they look like?What do they do for a living? Do they have kids grabbing at their skirt?Are they rushing in to grab your book on their lunch break? Are they male or female? Think about who they are.

Knowing how to distinguish your target audience is paramount in building your fan base. Once you’re certain your book will appeal to these types of people, you will be ready to proceed to the next step in reaching out to them.


Character Appeal


Once you’ve compared your book to similar novels, you’re ready to take the next step in identifying your target audience. This step should be simple since it’s something that only you, the author, would know.

Take a look at the main character of your novel. Who are they? What do they look like? How old are they? What job do they have? Are they gay or straight? Even if they’re alien, who would they be if they were human living in our time?

That’s exactly who you should go after. If the reader can identify with the main character, they’re more likely to like the novel and tell all their friends, which is exactly what you want.That is your target market, but there’s still one last step you need to take.


Where Does Your Novel Fit?


Before you start building relationships, you need to know who you’re going after. Identifying your target audience is very important, and here’s the first thing you need to do to if you want to be successful.

First, think about what other novels your audience would pick up if they were in a bookstore. What genre does if fall under? What age does it appeal to? Now, where would a bookstore shelf your book?

If you don’t know right off the bat, go to several bookstores, bring your book or at least the summary, and ask a few bookstore clerks where they would put it.Ask them what books are similar to yours. The next step in identifying your target audience is something only you, the author, would know.


Who Are You Trying To Reach?


 Here’s the thing.Some authors have sold 20,000, 50,000 maybe even 100,000 eBooks on Amazon or so far, which is amazing. But the question is, do you know who your readers are? Do you know their first names? Do you know how many dogs they have and when their birthday is?

Know your target audience. This is the single most important part of gaining success online.You have to know who your audience is. If Willie Nelson gets on stage at a rap concert, he’ll probably get booed off.If Barney the purple dinosaur gets on stage at a death metal concert, same thing would happen.

You have to know who your audience is before you choose what message board is right for you. So how do you identify your target market? Three simple tips will help do the job.


Evaluate Your Meaning of Success


When I say you need to build relationships with people, I’m not suggesting you touch millions of lives and live like a pauper. You can impact people’s lives and still make a very good living, and it doesn’t have to take forever to do it.

But first, you need to redefine what success means to you. If success means making a comfortable living to you, then how much does that mean? If the average American makes $30K annually, is $100K enough for you to feel at ease?

Establish what being comfortable means to you, then measure your success based on how your definition translates to your life. Once you have an idea in your head, you need to start looking for the people you want to build with.



Stop Marketing!


The first step you must take in order to build a robust fan base doesn’t require any physical effort, but without it, your campaign will fall apart.

I want you to completely throw the word “marketing” out the door.That’s not what we’re doing here. What we’re doing is something that is a new way to do something old, but something that works more effectively than tweeting all day. In fact, it’s something that your grandparents might have taught you and their grandparents before them.

What you’re going to be doing is BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS! By this I mean treating people like normal human beings. Building lasting relationships with people is not only paramount to your success; it’s also a skill that can be developed online. But before we start that, there’s something you need to do.



Bestselling Author, David Baldacci’s Writing Schedule



New York Times bestselling author, David Baldacci is the author of 18 bestselling novels including his latest novel, Deliver Us From Evil.

With that many books, GalleyCat wondered what his writing schedule was like. In today’s interview, Baldacci tells us all his writing secrets including how many hours a day he writes and what he says about the dangers of outlining.