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Sitcomics
06-17-2015, 12:34 PM
So I'm publishing my first two comic books next month (please, no applause - just check out my facebook page :) ) Anyway, I've been thinking about how to promote their release and I've spoken with a few people who work in marketing. The first question out of their mouths is always - "Who is your target audience?" and they roll their eyes if I dare say "Everybody!"

Now I understand why advertisers care about the demographics of who is reading/watching a particular show or publication but my books don't have any advertisements and I really do think they can be enjoyed by people of any age, race, religion or gender.

So can anyone out there explain how pre-determining a target audience could ever be of use to a mainstream self-publisher?

www.facebook.com/Sitcomics (http://www.facebook.com/Sitcomics)

Richard Sutton
06-17-2015, 05:33 PM
Sitcom, You've hit on an important question. It is exactly why many writers fail to find a marketing strategy. Let me put it this way, when you are writing/developing your project, you are a creative artist of sorts, but the moment you decide to publish, your art becomes a consumer product. Writers need to understand that it means you have to take off the writer hat and put on the marketer hat. This is equally true for writers who are industry published as for self-publishers. Target market demographics and access are critical. In order to market effectively, a writer needs to figure out how to narrow down the target, not make it larger. Your work will be most attractive for a specific group of readers, so the consideration of who they are, where they hang out and what they find interesting is critical to selling your books.

veinglory
06-17-2015, 05:53 PM
No matter what product you make there are people who will want it if the know about it, people who might try it if you sell them on it, and people who will never give a damn. Marketing to people who will never give a damn is a complete waste of resources. Targeting the first group is the easiest way to succeed assuming you have created something that group even exists for.

JasonS
06-18-2015, 10:30 AM
IMO, it is best to define your target audience before you start writing. Yes, before the first opening line. By defining who will read it you will write a better book. Look at who reads what. . . then ask how would you write to each audience.

Okay, lets say I am a seventy year old African American Woman - would you expect me to read your comic book? How about if I am a six year old Vietnamese girl with rather traditional parents?

I can tell you my tastes in reading have changed significantly over the years. When I was six, I loved comic books, at 12 it was Lobo the lone wolf short novels, in college I would stay up all night long with some good trashy pornography after midterms and finals were over (my friends would leave a book on my steps), in my thirties I loved good literature and epics like Shogun or Clan of the Cave Bear series, in middle age I prefer thrillers.

Now say you are writing for the college student on break looking for a good sleazy pornography to get his mind off of his studies. The language etc would be very different than say a steamy love scene that you might find right for the middle age man reading a thriller. If you are one of the 45 million people who have read one of the Clan of The Cave Bear books you know there is some very graphic sex scenes - and that series is about as far away from porno as possible.

Back to your specifics. You have two comic books (congrats and applause!). Truly ask who will enjoy it most, what age group, why would one gender enjoy it more than another? These questions, when answered, will help you sell it. And one final point. Setting target audience is not a final point. It is a starting point. Look at what Amazon does. They sell a book based on the genre (target audience) then if it does well they add a different, usually related genre (different target audience) and will add an third even completely separate genre if it continues to do well.

Sitcomics
06-19-2015, 10:16 AM
Thanks for all the insightful comments! You were especially good at cutting to the chase, VainGlory. I've decided to do a test launch of my company next month in Central Pennsylvania. I'll play up the fact that I'm from that area and I've been a TV sitcom writer for 20 years with writing credits on Seinfeld, Futurama and more than a dozen other shows. It just seems like a better approach than launching nationally and expecting anyone to give a damn. I'm also running TV ads for my comic books during syndicated Big Bang Theory repeats which seems like an audience that might enjoy my sitcom/comic book hybrid.

www.facebook.com/Sitcomics

frimble3
06-19-2015, 10:47 AM
(snip) The first question out of their mouths is always - "Who is your target audience?" and they roll their eyes if I dare say "Everybody!"

Now I understand why advertisers care about the demographics of who is reading/watching a particular show or publication but my books don't have any advertisements and I really do think they can be enjoyed by people of any age, race, religion or gender.

So can anyone out there explain how pre-determining a target audience could ever be of use to a mainstream self-publisher?

See, just because something could be enjoyed by 'people of any age, race, religion or gender' doesn't really mean that it will be.
There is very little that is universal. There are a lot of people who are very fond of superhero comics. I don't know any of them. I do know some Seinfeld and Futurama fans, but I'm not among them (more of a Bob Newhart/Frasier kind of viewer.) So, if middle-aged women aren't a monolithic target of an audience, neither is any other group.
No sense trying to appeal to everyone, just the absolute best you can to give superhero comic fans what they want, and others will come or not.

CaoPaux
06-19-2015, 06:46 PM
Welcome, Sitcomics. Alas, as lovely as it is, your image is too large: please resize to 400 x 400 max. Here's a FAQ (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?304595-FAQ-Image-Size-Guidelines) to help, if need be.

veinglory
06-19-2015, 07:17 PM
That's definitely a professional looking teaser image with lots of interesting elements, I suspect your audience will find you.

knowthyreader
09-04-2015, 05:49 PM
By understanding a customer segment, it can help you to better understand how you will perform each of the activities necessary to sell your product.

For example, understanding what channels you will use to communicate through and to get your message across, and ultimately to sell.

If you don't know who your target audience is (and please don't guess who they are) then you can't begin to create a plan for your marketing messages, channels used, key activities etc