Monday, November 14, 2005

Rule 4: Author and Market Researcher

The global market research industry is worth around US$ 19,000 million.* And works out per capita to be in the UK is US$34 and in the US US$23. Why are companies investing so much in market research? Because a successful company is one who understands its market and its customers. As a marketing-savvy author, its not enough to define whom you want to target (see Rule 3), you need to get to know your target groups of readers and buyers so you can: a) reach them b) communicate with them A fiction author researches to try and get into the heads of their characters. All authors need to research their readers. The good news is that as an author you’ve natural talent in the fields of communication and you’re already a keen observer of human behaviour. Market researching your readers will not only make your marketing more effective, it’ll be fun! Start by catching up on general reading trends. Some key theories of current trends are in articles at the East Asian Publishing Network and the UK's Literary Trust. Keep up to date from the publishing trade press, newspapers. This kind of information also often gets passed around author email loops. If your readers are likely to come from a certain demographic, research that demographic further. There are articles online and various market research companies and consuktancies produce consumer reports on general trends of particular consumer segments. e.g. the "Grey market". UK company Mintel’s reports are usually available from public libraries. Don’t just think of your readers in terms of their basic demographics, however. Make sure you consider their lifestyles and what else they are likely to be doing when they are not reading your book and books like yours. It’s via their lifestyles which you may find innovative and effective ways to reach them. American Cowboy magazine isn’t immediately obviously historical at first glance, but the media kit states that 81% of their readers enjoy Western history. Magazines produce media kits which profile their readers but you can rely on your common sense. Most people signing-up for a cookery class are going to have an interest in cookery. So invest a little time being a market researcher and profile your readers and buyers. It’ll become a whole lot easier to find out where to find them. *ESOMAR figures, 2003


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