One Surprising Question You May Not Ask Yourself

Hello to all the Story Empire readers and thanks for visiting us once again today. I’m tasked with our Friday writing question this month so I’ve come up with one you may not consider. How big is your audience?

Most of the time we ask the question, who is your audience? While this is a very good question to consider regarding the demographics of readers that you are targeting and one you should keep foremost in your mind, how big your audience is will always be very important. This seems like a simple question and answer, however it’s one that has a deeper meaning, covering how many genres in which you write and much more.

How big your audience is does not depend on the size of your email list. Instead, it depends on how many total copies you have sold of your highest selling book. Audience size also applies to what you have written in every genre because your audience is likely going to be very different between them. Let me emphasize this is how many books you have sold, your bestselling book. We’re not talking about free books, because no matter how well they have been downloaded as a free book, most these copies are not that well read. Don’t get me wrong, I do have free books and I do believe they help sell some of my other books, but I don’t consider anyone in my audience they actually buy a book. Sales matter, even if they are Kindle Unlimited “sales” where the number of page reads divided by your book’s Kindle normalized page-count is the estimated number of books sold (and let’s face it you are getting paid for “free” books in KU).

You may not track your sales consistently but it is something you should consider doing. When you release a new book in a specific genre you already have an audience if you have published within it previously: your best selling book. Now, you may have a large number of your audience on your email list or you may still be mining your email list for sales, so you need to use your email list but it is not the entirety of your audience. Your audience size is never going to be the same since it should be expanding as you sell more books.

If you know the size of your reading audience, you are more likely to have a better understanding of what your release numbers may eventually be. Of course, you shouldn’t expect all of your audience to buy your latest book but you should understand that you now have some amount of name recognition with that group of readers, people who have purchased one or more your books already. Many of them could be following you on your blog, social media, Goodreads or Amazon and they may receive notifications about your new book. The same goes for your email subscribers.

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem from Pexels

Understanding your audience size can help you grasp what your actual reach is. When you first start publishing, your audience size is zero (a very disconcerting feeling, I know), but once you have a sales history you have an audience. You should always be working to cultivate your audience and find ways to be in contact with your audience. Personally, I try to track my audience size regularly so I have some grasp of what impact it may have on future releases. If you are looking for an agent or publisher, a sales history can reveal a lot about you as an author – that you can, and will, market what you write.

Do you track your sales, especially your best-selling book? Do you know your audience size? Why or why not? Do you avoid tracking your sales? Thanks for visiting today and please leave your responses in the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

P.H. Solomon

25 thoughts on “One Surprising Question You May Not Ask Yourself

  1. I’ve never really thought about my audience. I’ve hit best seller status on Amazon more than once, and once on B&N, but that’s about as much as I know. I do look at my ranking but that’s about it. You’re right in that I’ve thought more about WHO my audience is, then how large they are. After six years of doing this, I’m still learning!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My stories cover a broad spectrum of speculative genres. My audience must surely be scattered across that spectrum. I have a few fans who’ve read them all though. I read the same way, not focused only on one genre, so those fans are probably more like me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • There’s bound to be overlap with you book list. You might just stick with the top seller and work off of that number when considering new release potential. Push that book more and invite readers to you next best sellers in the book note to readers. Just a suggestion to get them to you other books but definitely list all the books otherwise.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This topic gives me anxiety. Especially as a hybrid author, because I don’t have that kind of data for many of my books. Even so, I never really considered audience as defined by you—the number of paid purchases of my bestselling work. Because I write in multiple genres, that’s even more to consider, because there is some crossover.

    A lot to think about on a Friday morning. Very thought-provoking. Thanks, P.H.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You can only do your best. Don’t stress but use the information for your own business intelligence. You could always ask for the info from the publisher and tell them you are researching your audience size per genre. It’s meant to be helpful information.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My first book is coming out at the end of the year. I write comedy/romance. I have no idea the size of that audience but I’ll find out. it’s an interesting road I’m on. I’m about as lost as Dorothy finding the Wizard but at least I’m on the right path. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • First books are tough. Best thing to do is market to an email list and use some inexpensive newsletter services. Also, put a note to readers at the end and thank them for reading. Ask for a review and invite them to follow your blog, email list and on Amazon to get notifications about future books. Hope it all goes well

      Like

    • Thanks for the comments Lizzie. It really helps you figure out expectations and how to leverage you audience for the future especially with a note to readers somewhere in the book to alert them to other books.

      Like

  5. I haven’t monitored my audience beyond looking at my monthly sales as yet. Interludes has been my biggest seller since October; however, that audience doesn’t seem to have translated to Backstage, which is the same genre although not in short story form. Thanks for a thought-provoking post, P.H. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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