Readers devour nonfiction books. Statista put total purchases at over 240 million in 2017. Author Earnings reported that more than a quarter of those sales belonged to independent or self-publishing authors.
It’s no wonder that authors want to tap the nonfiction market. Forbes advised that the number one way to establish your authority in any field is to:
Write a Book – A book is the ultimate ticket to establishing yourself as an authority. Authors are perceived as instant subject matter experts, which can attract media attention, dazzle clients and prospects, create opportunities for speaking engagements, and so much more. If this is on your list of goals, move it up to top priority!
If you are an indie author planning to self-publish a book, before you begin banging away at your keyboard here are four things you should consider.
Are readers buying books like yours? This involves a bit of market research. What books similar to yours are people buying? Use Google, Amazon bestseller ranking, and the shelves at your local book store to get an idea of books that are comparable to yours. Are there self-published books that are successful in your niche? One way to determine whether a book is self-published is to look at the title page and see if an established publisher is listed.
Why would a reader buy your book rather than others in your niche? Traditional publishers ask authors to show evidence of need in their nonfiction book proposals. If readers are buying books like yours, how is your book unique? Why would someone choose your book over another title in the same niche? Make a list of the benefits your book offers to readers. Write an elevator speech on its value to readers. Imagine you’re writing the back cover copy for your book. What are its unique selling points.
Who are the readers most likely to buy your book? Begin with some simple demographics. What are the likely age, sex, marital status, educational level, hobbies, interests, geographic location, etc. of readers who will be interested in your book. Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter Advanced Search are two tools that can be very helpful here. Many authors benefit from using that demographic data to create reader personas. For example, the likely reader is a 40 year old divorced woman with a college degree and two teenage kids. She lives in Los Angeles. Her kids keep her busy, so she has little time for hobbies. She’s interested in fitness and holistic health to fight stress and promote wellness. Call her Samantha. Keep Samantha in mind as you write your book.
How do I reach my ideal readers online? If you are an indie author, you probably don’t have a large marketing budget. A well thought out online strategy will be critical in reaching your target audience. What keywords is Samantha likely to search? What websites or blogs is she likely to visit regularly? What forums does she frequent? Who are the influencers she follows? Using the answers to these questions you can create a social media strategy to let Samantha know about your book and why she will want to buy it.