Nonfiction Book Writing, Self Publishing, & Marketing Coach

Do You Know Your Non-Fiction Book’s Best Target Audience?

One question I ask emerging authors is…

“Who is your primary audience (target market)?”

They often say, “Everyone needs my message.” They have an idea and just start writing. They don’t think ahead with a marketing point of view, so sadly their books and their services don’t sell well.

My answer is…

“I know you have something to say, but before you outline those chapters or write one, take some time to make your message strategic.”

You can brand yourself in your book and chapter titles, so your primary audience knows you’ll write what they need and want to know. Anyway, how will you contact everyone?

Knowing your target audience is the first step to your business success. People read your book because they want answers for their specific questions. They have concerns and want solutions. When they see general copy, they get turned off and leave. This is a “kiss of death” because, if they don’t finish reading those chapters, they won’t recommend your book. There goes your 24/7 sales team!

Why not take this first step to making your book a business? If you do, you will be pleased with generating more book sales and increasing your business credibility and visibility. If you don’t write for a target audience, your buckshot message will not be effective, and take so much more marketing and promotion time.

When you write your book’s pre-marketing plan that includes writing out your book’s benefits and your specific audience, you tailor your book’s chapters for that audience. They will be happy, engaged, readers who are getting specific information they came for instead of general information they are not interested in.

So many new authors think their story will capture attention. Remember, your readers don’t care about you. They want answers. Instead of writing a one size fits all longer book, divide and conquer. Write a series of shorter books, each one written for the audience who really wants it.

One Size Does Not Fit All

From a recent book coaching session, a nutritionist wanted to build her brand with a book about snacks. She has multiple audiences. From checking the best keywords for her new title, we changed the general title of “healthy snacks” to one for a more targeted audience. We created two strong keyword phrases in her evolving title. The first, “diabetic snacks” that is already searched by over 18,000 potential readers a month. Then we added another strong key phrase to “lower your blood sugar.” This benefit and keyword phrase more than doubled her search results. This shorter book aimed at a specific target audience will bring my client bigger results.

She plans to build a series of these books for several specific audiences. She can finish this book much faster and start promoting it with blogs right away. And because of her laser focus, her promotions will be much easier and far less time consuming. Write for your audience who will gladly pay for what you have to say.

If You Don’t Laser Focus Your Book’s Audience…

Keep asking yourself, “Who really loves and wants my topic and my tips, and will pay for them to make their lives more productive, healthier, or easier?” “What will they Google when looking for answers?” When you don’t preplan and do marketing research, your best audience will miss out and not get your specific wisdom. You will miss out because of the high competition in your topic niche. Only the already famous or big marketers win with general titles (think of Mark Hansen and the Chicken Soup Series). He actually made more money on his how to market your book seminars.

If you don’t focus your book’s audience…

  • You won’t create happy readers who will spread the word on social media!
  • You will miss out on making yourself highly visible, credible, and branded as a leader in your niche.
  • You’ll miss out on making your book dream happen when you can’t sell many copies.
  • Even more important, you’ll miss out on expanding your business of which your book is just one part of it.

FACT. Quality content is still a top way to market you, your business and your book. Remember, your book is one important way to let your audience know who you are, and what you can do especially for them to lead to much bigger sales in your programs and other packages you offer.

Remember, to help guarantee your book’s financial success, you need to do some marketing research, and actually write out and answer upfront what I call the “9 Essential Hot Selling Points” that in this piece, includes knowing your specific audience, where they hang out online, and what challenges and concerns they have that they want answers for.”Knowing these is one thing, but incorporating them into your book, takes some real strategic thinking on your part.

How can you know what your primary audience wants before you write your book?

This is the key question, isn’t it? You need to know what you deliver is valuable to your audience. Who do you know who is interested in your information?

One answer is to survey people you think may want your information. From my experience, and hosting a group on LinkedIn, they do offer this great opportunity. Do a LinkedIn survey. In it, ask your contacts to give you their greatest concern about their life or business. Be sure they share their background with you, so you know what questions to answer in your chapters. Even make each chapter one of their questions. Then, answer it after your opening hook.

While this seems daunting to some of you, it is all important if you really want to get noticed, respected, and appreciated by those you want to help. Knowing your target market is step one to know before you get those sales you want.

Make my face smile! If you want to share your book title on this blog and your target audience, I’d love to help you. For you fiction writers, tune in to another blog just for you.

Judy Cullins

Judy Cullins

Book Coach at
Book Coach Judy Cullins, author of 38 books including “Write your eBook or Other Short Book-Fast!”, solves the tough problems for top business people writing a book. She determines their unmet needs of having enough time, positive mindset and tried and true writing skills that create a book their ideal audience will love.
Judy Cullins
Similar posts
  • Don’t Publish That Book – Yet! You have finally finished writing your book and you’re eager to see it in print. That’s natural; after all, you’ve invested a lot of time, your heart, and sometimes significant funds (if nothing else, in opportunity costs) in writing your book and want to release it to begin reaping the psychic and financial rewards. Your [...]
  • How Authors Use General Transcriptionists The demand for transcription is huge. Not only are there unlimited opportunities for transcriptionists but there is plenty of well-paid transcription work. Doing transcription for companies like CallGraph/Scribie, Quicktate, Transcribe Me, and Rev. doesn’t pay well but working for companies like that is an easy way to get started in transcription and build up some [...]
  • 9 Nonfiction Writer Quick Tips to Finish Your Book Do you have good intentions to write your book, then get bogged down with some detail you feel insecure about? If I go back to the mid 80’s and my early book writing years, I froze sometimes because I was not so confident. I got more confident as I turned out 20 + short books [...]
  • Conquer Book Writing Procrastination with These 10 Tips What’s the biggest book success killer? You and I both know it’s procrastination and the thinking behind it. Maybe it’s time to look at the “Good, the Bad and the Ugly” of procrastination. Think to yourself, “What are the payoffs for procrastinating? And what are the consequences of not doing the task in your book [...]
  • Define Your Life’s Purpose to Finish Your Book Want a big permanent red carpet smile on your face? Want motivation and enthusiasm to finish your book project? It was a dark and stormy divorce that led me back to my true self. It was too many hurdles and mixed messages at the colleges where I was a trainer that led me to become [...]
  • Judy,
    This is so true. Writing to a specific audience is like direct marketing to those who truly want what you have. If you miss your niche, you miss the opportunity to connect with those who can keep increasing your circles of influence.
    Always enjoy your posts.

  • Judy,
    Once again you are right on target. This is why your RSS Feed is something I review daily.
    The tip about taking larger topics and creating smaller, more targeted content hit home.

  • Thomas Smith

    Hi Judy,

    As a long time publicist and journalist now working on my first book, I couldn't agree with you more. Music marketing, after all, was originally based upon book marketing. That said, I can't tell you how frustrating it is to ask what someone sees as their target audience and they say, "Everyone." Even if that were so, what is it going to cost in time and marketing dollars to reach "Everyone." Authors are better at considering this point than musicians, but it's still a struggle.

    As for knowing who your audience is and what they want, I still find way too many "artistes" who believe if they build it the audience will come. That's not bloody likely. There are so many people thinking that way — write the book, sit on couch waiting for magic to happen — that it only takes one person making even the smallest move towards self-promotion to outclass and outsell everyone else.

    The only point I would add to your fine piece here is to research the competition. What does your book offer that others do not? Before beginning "From Off," my husband's memoir about growing up with multiple personalities, we read and continue to read any other account we can find. Like most autobiographies out there, most stories in this genre are of the "I succeeded! Aren't I wonderful?" school of thought. We decided early on to focus, not just on Darrell's life, but on the sociological, psychological, historical and even geographical elements that caused his life to turn out as it has.

    Our target audience is college psychology courses because the only other two works widely and readily available to someone interested in the subject are "Sybil," with it's 50-year-old and hence out of date science; and "The United States of Tara," which is, as even the female multiple who served as an adviser to the now-cancelled series points out, shear fantasy that puts its comedy ahead of its responsibility to portray Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) correctly.

    One last vent: Please, folks, have a message or, better yet, a moral to your story. Impart some wisdom or give the reader advice or whatever you feel needs to be in print. So many people write books — including just about all on the New York Times Best Seller list — without having a thing to say. When I was teaching I'd tell my students, "I don't want you to tell me about your life. I want you to tell me about mine." Forget that point and you're wasting everyone's time.

  • Hi Judy,
    Thank you for taking the time to provide this valuable information – I’m soaking it up.
    I’ve already written my book, “Learn to be a Soulmate Magnet: A Workbook for Attracting Mr. Right.” I did some keyword research and I knew I was writing to single ladies in their 30s and 40s, but I think perhaps I needed to narrow my niche even further. Not only would it have helped with marketing, but I think the book would have been better written if I’d written it as if I was writing to one person, rather than a general group of people who are looking unsuccessfully for love.
    Add to that the fact that I don’t have a big social audience or a lot of subscribers and didn’t really promote the book anywhere except to my readers and social audience and I’ve ended up with a bit of a flop.
    Reading here today is giving me some ideas on how to re-work it and get it to the audience I intended for. I can’t thank you enough.

  • Merry, good to see you here again. Now that my blog is fixed and we can ineract, I’m here to support you.

    One, I prefer “action guide” to workbook. It’s new and fresh and workbook is old and dead. Just a thought.

    I’m full of them–I’ve been coaching for 25 years and it creeps in. Haha.

    Did you know that most books are a flop? Authors sell only 150 or so copies? Better to write with purpose–build a business around your book.

    On promotion? Write blog posts to each audience in your book too.

    One reason is that authors don’t use a smart coach to shorten the learning curve. If you don’t get coaching, I suggest you read ch 2 and 3 of my write your ebook…

    It’s worked for 85 clients who published with me!

  • Hello, I’m writing here in response to your invitation of yours:
    “If you want to share your book title on this blog and your target audience, I’d love to help you.”…..
    My book has to speak for itself so I’ll add no more here other than to get on with it…..

    The title, well, the cover is as much graphic as verbal. So I’ll refer you to a very mangled copy of the front cover (title is much bigger print than blogspot allows) at

    Roughly speaking that is composed of: this first graph here,
    then (sorry for the caps) the title

    – and how not to be a victim of this catastrophe yourself!

    then this second graph

    The draft back cover blurb is as follows (with some formatting/coloring):

    This unique book shows for the first time:-

    – How millions of people in the US, UK, and elsewhere have had
    their health and lives devastated by pseudo-evidence-based healthcare promoted by officially-designated experts (causing mainly non-autistic disabilities).

    – The system of evidence-defying untruths issuing from official
    experts to deceive victims and cover up this catastrophe.

    – How the science bureaucracy’s system of “peer-reviewed”
    journals suppresses scientific truth and talent rather than advances it.

    – How the fact of this medical catastrophe of pseudo-expertise
    has itself been kept censored by the cheap false excuses of the anonymous
    unaccountable so-called peer-review system.

    – Why brain-changing air pollution has caused moral and
    cultural-social transformations, including the revolution of attitudes to

    – Practical ways you can distinguish life-saving genuine expertise from death-threatening official charlatanism.

    – The institutional changes needed to end the failures both of
    health systems and of systems of scientific publication and promotion.

    Robin P Clarke is uniquely-qualified to write on these matters, having authored a number of medical scientific papers including the definitive still-unchallenged theory of autism, and having engaged in ten years of investigation of the
    pseudo-expertise pervading the NHS.

    “Robin P Clarke is one of those rare souls with the ability to assimilate and synthesise large amounts of information and generate new and interesting ideas” – Bernard Rimland, founder of Autism Research Institute, founder of Autism Society of America, debunker of Bettleheim’s theory, and originator of the modern bio/genetic concept of autism.

    “Well worth publishing” – Hans J Eysenck, most-cited-ever scientist.

    “Your paper is important” – mercury expert Dr med Joachim Mutter

  • Re my comment just now, I’ll see if I can upload a jpg of the whole front page so you can see it’s not quite such as mess as the blogspot makes it. Now adding image….

Ready to Finish Your Book?