August 29

How to identify your ideal reader in order to sell more books with less effort

    With millions of books in circulation and more being released every day, creating and sending the same marketing message out to the masses (like a generic press release or a “blast” email) is unlikely to get you the readership and sales you are looking for. Whether you have your sights set on a best-seller spot, professional authority, or personal notoriety, you need a solid marketing plan.

    Marketing a book can take a lot of time and effort (and money). Unfortunately, more time and effort doesn’t always equal more sales. If you don’t know who your ideal reader is and how to talk to them, you are likely wasting time and money marketing to the wrong people. Before sending out a million emails to your list or blasting social media with your book launch details, let’s walk through the following steps and make sure your message reaches the right readers.

    Identify your Ideal Reader Persona

    Let’s suspend reality for a minute and put on our fiction caps. In order to best understand your ideal reader, you need to narrow down a primary persona. This is the person you imagine not only reading your book but whose life is changed by it. The reader who can’t stop talking about it because they felt it was written specifically for them.

    I want you to get crystal clear on ONE specific reader. If you are already a professional serving your ideal clients, this may be easy. If not, this could also be a friend or even a former version of yourself. Who, above everyone, are you trying to serve? Before we dig too heavy into the research, let’s start with a first draft. Write out the following with us.

    Who is your ideal reader?





    Level of Education


    Annual Income


    Personal Quote

    Favorite Books




    News Sources

    Favorite Communication Method (email, text, social media, phone)

    What does your ideal reader need?

    Current goals



    Why should your ideal reader read YOUR book?

    How will your book help?

    What objections do they have for seeking help?

    What do you offer that other books don’t?

    Why might they choose a different book or resource over yours?

    Focus on their Pain Points and How you Can Help

    Once you have an ideal reader drafted, we can focus on the language they need to hear to take a chance on your book. How can you market your book to let your reader know that you can solve their problems while also alleviating objections?

    Let’s imagine you are focusing on alleviating back pain for Sally, a 45-year-old administrative assistant with 2 school-aged kids. She is likely facing challenges with limited time, in addition to her pain. We can then assume a quick, easy-to-follow stretching exercise would be a better asset to her (at least initially) than an hour-long yoga sequence.

    A good message would include how a 5-minute stretch during lunch or before bed would not only take very little away from her job or family, but it could also help increase her productivity and mood by reducing her pain and making her feel better.

    This message gives us the ability to not only address her primary challenge (back pain) but also her objections (not having enough time) and focused on her goals (leading a happier, more productive, pain-free life.)

    That same book, marketed to a college athlete or retired individual would need a different message to achieve the same results.

    Fine Tune Your Marketing Message

    With a better understanding of your reader, their goals, and pain points you can start to craft the perfect message and means of distribution. This is typically when I like to investigate a bit.

    Let’s Google “back pain solutions” as an example. Using Google’s predictive search can be a great resource to figure out what people are commonly searching.

    Screenshot of Google's predictive text feature for ideal reader research

    Using the above wording as a guide, you may want to point out that your back pain relief exercises are a natural remedy they can do at home.

    Scouting out the competition on Amazon is a good idea, too. Take a look at the messaging used by any best selling competitors and read through some of the reviews. Negative reviews are especially helpful in identifying any gaps that you can fill with your book and marketing message.

    Screenshot of a one star review on Amazon for ideal reader research

    If you have written about safe exercises for specific injuries or conditions, address those in your marketing or if an exercise is advanced, make it clear that a doctor needs to be consulted before using your methods and market to an audience without those challenges.

    Other helpful tools on Amazon are the “Customers who viewed this item also viewed” and “What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?” sections. This will lead you to similar competitors and help you identify what your ideal reader might be looking for. 


    Focusing on an ideal reader in order to perfect your marketing effort will help you eliminate audiences that aren’t a good fit and better speak to audiences that could be your biggest advocates. The more we understand our reader, the better we can understand the language needed to motivate them to pick up our book.

    Once you have your fictional persona nailed down, sending out a client survey or having a conversation with your intended reader is a good idea. Facts serve you better than assumptions but don’t let a lack of data keep you from doing the above exercise. A reasonable, but fictional persona will serve you better than none at all.

    If you feel your book serves a variety of audiences feel free to create one or two secondary audiences using the above information. We do caution creating too many personas as often this will dilute your overall results. Also, if you find that your writing is speaking to a variety of diverse audiences you may need to focus on the commonality or revisit your book with a quality editor. Keep your focus on who is reading your book, and all of your writing and marketing will become much clearer!

    Amanda's Signature

    Bio: Amanda Kuebler is the Marketing and Editorial Assistant for Paper Raven Books. Amanda works with PRB’s authors to increase, reach, and optimize their marketing assets. Each month, she’ll share marketing tips and resources for promoting your book.


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