One of the biggest things that new authors worry about is that they don't want to exclude anyone with their marketing. They want their book to make everyone happy. They want to be universally liked in their marketing. When I try to coach them, they often tell me things like "everyone can read my book."
Sure, anyone who is literate can, technically, read your book. But trust me, you don't want everyone to read it. You especially don't want to market it to everyone.
I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually benefits you to narrow your marketing and exclude people.
Don't believe me? Check out the reasoning:
Budget & Time
Marketing to everyone is very time intensive and money intensive. Let's face it, you don't have Coca-cola's marketing budget. Narrowing your field will target your time and money to those who are most likely to LOVE you. When you have all the LOVE people on board, then worry about expanding and reach out to a broader market.
Like Attracts Like
The fact is that most people are more comfortable with people who are like them. If a reader connects deeply with your writing or message, they will be far more willing to become a huge fan and tell their like-minded friends about you. If they only mildly connect with your book, it's message or tone, then they'll read it and forget about it. So focus your time and attention on the people who will be happiest with your style of writing.
As an experiment, let's look at successful marketing campaigns in the corporate world. You'll see that even big companies who are supposedly marketing to everyone, really have a specific market on their mind and they are actively excluding others:
Ex. Mobile phones are for everyone, right? Yet even mobile services know that they should focus on a particular demographic. Let's look at Richard Branson and the commercial for Virgin Mobile. He specificially targets young, hip, progressives. Look at his hilarious commercials for his mobile service. In the voiceover we hear: "He (Branson) is here to service you. Every last one of you." The words aren't true. He's targeting people who will think that's hilarious and get the joke. Stuffy prudes are not urged to buy that product… and probably never will.
Ex. Everyone with a driver's license and a decent credit rating can buy a car. However, Ford Ram truck commercials uses the advertising slogan "Guts & Glory, Ram." They feature dirty, grity men who spit and wipe their sweat on their sleeves. Ford is not marketing to a teenage girl, who paints her poodle's toe nails. And she probably wouldn't touch that kind of truck with a ten foot pole.
So why should books be any different? Not everyone is going read erotica. Some people will even boycott the beloved Harry Potter books because they feature magic. Others will avoid sappy romances like the plague. Yet each of these has their own group of super fans.
Go for the super fans. Let go of the rest.
I know. I know. I can hear you whimpering. But what about losing customers? Won't I be losing money if I focus my marketing?
Nope. Why? Well…
There Are Plenty of People Like You
If you focused on just the people who like what you write, you will be a success. Odds are that your writing is probably broad enough that you could get wealthy on just people who are super fans of your genre/topic/voice. Focus on them, and giving them what they want and you will have readers for life.
Even if you do write on a very obscure topic or have a very narrow market, then you become a huge hero for those disenfanchised readers. Seek them out. Don't try to make your writing more mainstream. You are providing for people who don't get much attention. You are giving them the attention they are craving. So they will become your biggest fans and buy up everything you do.
But it's more than just about loyalty and money…
It's Just More Fun
Let's face it, you don't want to interact with people who don't like your writing. Why work hard to get the attention of people who will just turn around and tell you that your book sucks? It's far more fun to have customers that "get" you. Plus, it saves you from having to defend your position all the time. And you'll enjoy connecting with readers who are on the same wavelength.
That will make people feel safe with you and you will…
Become A Trusted Author
Narrowing your field to a specific audience, and delivering a specific genre or message, will increase a reader's confidence in you. They want to know who you are. They want to know what to expect. Diluting that message or tone to try to attract other readers will only alienate your base. Advertising or using social networks in a way that brings in readers who aren't into your style or message will create mixed messages about your writing.
People want to know that when they connect with others on your social networks, those people are going to be like them. They want to know that when they read your books, you are going to validate them.
Staying focused and eliminating the "non-believers" in your work will help you become the person your fans know they can trust. If they want to read a particular topic or something that sets a particular tone, they have you as their "go-to" author. You message and your marketing all tell them that they can count on you.
So get out there and alienate people!