Monday, 26 September 2011

The #1 Question: Who is Your Audience? . . . Plus an Excerpt

War has gone on since the beginning of man's creation.  And will continue until the end of time.  This necessary evil brings death and pain not only to its victims, but also to the warriors and their loved ones covering our small planet.  It's not the way we'd like it to be . . . it is the way it is.

Diary of a Vet's Wife, subtitled Living and living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a 96,000 word memoir covering an eighteen year period in the author's life and reads like a novel.  It took sixteen years to write and is the first book to show the day to day struggles of an ordinary family living with the chaos of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; unaware the author will develop this same disorder by association.

The number one question . . . who is my audience?

To think like a marketer is a common sense process that takes place over time.  -Jacqueline Deval

Did you know that it's not unusual for a traditional publishing house to take 18 to 24 months from the time the project is signed on until the finished books are in hand?  They're in the driver's seat, yet they can't put all their chips down on one book like a self-publisher can . . . they're just trying to make a living.

As a self-publisher, you control the timetable and make things happen when you say . . .

No matter what kind of book you have, its success depends on two things:  It must tell a good story, and you must find an audience for it.

Most books fail in the marketplace because nobody ever heard of them.  Only about 1/3 of new titles sell more than 100 copies.

Yet, an author today can build an audience solely through the community voice without leaving their own backyard.  Internet social networking has given authors their most powerful tool since the invention of paper. Word of mouth is the only thing that can make a book really successful.  Online communities allow authors to bond with readers intimately, inspiring deep loyalty.

There is no such thing as overnight success. It might require a year or more of steady work to see appreciable results.

Self-published authors who own the ISBN and online rights for their book can promote it however they please. Trade-published authors must confer with their publishers marketing department for approval.

Sales is nothing more than matching your product with a prospective buyer's needs and desire.  Early on those prospective buyers are wholesalers, distributors, and bookstores. They want to know you'll be an integral part of the promotion process . . . making sure those books aren't hanging around long.

Next are potential reviewers.  You're selling them on the subject of your book and why readers would care.

Final audience is book buyers, whose needs and desires can be met with your book.

Figure out what sets your book apart in the marketplace and drive that difference home - early and often.

Your #1 job is to Build the Demand for Your Book.  Zero in on the key influencers for your target audiences and focus on taking massive action.

Who would be the most likely readers of your book?  To whom would your subject be especially appealing?

Why not put this action item on your to-do-list today?  Start an ongoing list of potential readers that will be there ready and waiting.  Brainstorm!  Give your mind the freedom to wander outside of the box, and write down any ideas that float to the surface.  Never know when something surprising will appear . . .

Business-building is NOT immodesty.  Drawing attention to yourself when you have a good, high-quality contribution to make to the book marketplace, that's why you wrote the book in the first place.  You're an author with a book the world needs to hear about, and you have every right to tell your story.  - Peter Bowerman

I'm posing this question because I'm guilty as charged of being so busy I haven't focused in on this most important step myself . . .  

(Also see:  Marketing in an Electronic World . . . My First Steps - June 26, 2011 and The Marketing Medusa . . . Don't Let It Overwhelm You! - July 28, 2011)
Excerpt from Chapter Eleven . . . Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

     Toxic fumes burned the inside of my nose as we merged onto Highway 10, heading out into the country away from the snarl of city traffic.  Soon Lorne turned onto a two-lane road and opened her up.  I hung on tight.  The narrow strip of asphalt dipped and twisted without warning, snaking through the rolling fields while a broken white line blurred beneath us.  Chilling wind beat against my arms, tugging at my hair, pulling strands free to whip my face.  The air smelled fresh and clean.

     I clung to Lorne, my body pressed into his, feeling his warmth penetrating my tee shirt.  He felt good in my arms like he belonged there.  I held on tight, leaning with him on every curve, my eyes squeezed shut.  Brown and white patterned cows that munched on meadow grass lifted their heads to watch the bike roar by.  Intoxicated with a feeling of freedom, I rode the back of the wind aimed at some unknown planet.

Lessons Learned . . . My Two Cents

     I was headed for New Zealand, standing in line at the airport waiting to go through inspection, when the young woman in front of me turned and said, "You have such beautiful skin!"  I was flattered.  Then I told her my secret . . . "I use apple cider vinegar to remove my makeup at night (not mascara)."  She seemed surprised.

     This weekend at church, another woman made the same comment.  I gave her the same reply.  The next day when I saw her, she said with a smile, "I used apple cider vinegar this morning."  It was then I realized I should share my secret with all of you . . .

     I've used Apple Cider Vinegar on a cotton ball to cleanse my face at night for about 4-5 years.  I read it someplace, tried it and loved what it did for my skin . . . and it's inexpensive.  It acts as an exfoliant, tightens pores, and balances the PH factor in your skin to alkaline.  If your skin gets a bit dry until it gets use to it, switch to Witch Hazel for a few days.  I hope you'll be pleasantly surprised as I was . . .

Let me know how you like it . . .


  1. Liking the excerpt here very much, Nancy.

    "the author will develop this same disorder by association" Lot of people who live with someone who is mentally ill develop "fleas", disordered ways of thinking or dealing with the disordered person.

  2. Beverly, I'm pleased you like my excerpt. Not many have read what I've written. It was my secret for way too long.

    I didn't know that I had developed PTSD for many years after. Others need to be made aware, it's not publicized enough.

  3. My son just joined the army (we're in Canada) and like the American soldiers, our boys also suffer from this disorder when they serve their time in Afganistan. May I suggest you join online military groups, talk to the members there, and also to psychologists that handle this particular problem? I know my son's wife may have to handle this in the years to come. Connect with the people who are directly affected by this...there is a huge audience for this, not just immediate families, but also friends and anyone who comes in contact with the sufferer. You have probably already thought of this, but thought I'd throw it out there anyway. LOL Nice article...good job.

  4. Interesting post, Nancy. I would think that (sadly) you would have a large market for this book. There are the spouses and families of PTSD sufferers, both military and non-military.

    Your point about the family members developing symptoms is definitely an important one. After spending time around someone with mental health issues, I found my own mental health deteriorating. I had to pull out all the stops and use many tools to get back to a healthy state...but it requires ongoing attention and care.

    I'm very interested in reading this book as soon as it's available.

  5. Nancy, you are a born teacher, a wonderful writer, and somebody who is able to offer a load of support for those with PTSD. Your book is necessary and relevant,and I have no doubt that it will be published.

  6. S.L. - My heart is with you, our young men and women need our prayers as they deal with a "real world" unknown to them. While family and friends are crushed by the change. I've started looking into military and non-military groups dealing with PTSD. I know I must step forward. Sometimes it's hard with my own triggers even after all these years. I plan to visit the "Traveling Wall" tomorrow, unsure how it will affect me. Hope to write about it next week. I appreciate your imput and encouragement!! LOL

  7. Nadine - Sadly the market is large but someone must "show" the truth so others can be prepared to know what to do. I wasn't! There were no books from others dealing with this. PTSD robs marriages and families of any normalicy.

    Currently there are people trying to address this issue upon discharge, but too many slip thru the crack claiming, "I'm fine."

    Nadine, thank you for your interest in my story.

  8. Becky - Your words are always so gracious and caring, thank you. We're both on our own journey with our own stories to tell. I'm honored to share this path with you. Hopefully I will see you soon.

  9. Sometimes I wonder about my dream of being a writer, it seems such a hill to climb (more like a mountain). After reading your pose today I am thinking I might drink that apple cider instead! Instead, I say we must continue on our paths whatever destiny is..

  10. Oh, Brenda - You are a writer!!! Your work is prolific, moving, loving, funny and you've suffered pain . . . you have everything you need. My question to you: What do you want to do with your gift? Write a book, write a play, write poetry?? I have so much "other writing" on the backburner, but my focus is this memoir. It wants to be published, it has an identity all it's own! I know you have a book in process . . . focus on your dream. It's right at your fingertips. Honor it!! LOL

  11. I've nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award. For details see my post at to collect it.

  12. Interesting post Good luck to publishing your first book. Looking forward to reading your memoir. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, i think it is wonderful that you are sharing your life story.

    This week i picked up a memoir by Joanne Limburg. It is entitled " The Woman Who Thought Too Much" It's a memoir of obsession and compulsion. Hope to start reading it this weekend. Enjoy your weekend!

  13. Nancy-I have written and finished a novel. Fiction. Long story here, suffice to say I decided to change the tense, so I am buried in revisions. It's been slow going the past several weeks because I have a full time day job, which is normally manageable BUT we have a busy I am brain dead at the end of the day. I've only managed my blog posts. My writer's heart thanks you kindly and is fluttering at your comments. I am so weird about writing. It's the one area of my life where I am always uncertain. Thank you again, and for always stopping by grrlguide. I know my style of writing isn't for everybody, but .. what can a grrl do? Hugs.

  14. Nancy, replied by email...hope it gets through.