If you want to publish your work, you must know your readers. Whether you write articles, essays, blogs, or books, this first step, called a market analysis, is essential to your success. Without it, you might produce work that attracts totally different readers than you expect or no readers at all. Skip this analysis and you might find it difficult to get your work published if you can do so at all.
You conduct a market analysis in the same manner no matter what you write. Let’s look at this activity as if you were writing a book. Know you can apply the same principle to researching article, essay or blog markets as well.
How to Conduct a Market Analysis
The steps for conducting a market analysis are twofold and simple:
1. Describe your ideal reader. Do this in great detail including demographic information. Who do you see reading your work? What are they like? What problems or concerns do they have? Where do they hang out? What do they buy? What do they like to do? Where do they live? What are their professions? How much money do they earn? Are they in relationship? What do they want and need?
2. Determine the size of your market. Do online research, such as on Google, and find statistics that indicate how many of these people exist in the world or in your country. You might look in the database of the census bureau or specific organizations related to your topic. If, for example, your book is for aspiring professional or public speakers, you could go to the official National Speakers Association site and look for data. And numbers are what you want—hard facts that tell you there are “xx number of people” in your target market.
These two steps help you:
- write for your reader
- create content that targets your readers’ needs
- discover if your book (essay, article or blog) has enough potential readers to make it worth writing and publishing
What to Do With Your Analysis
Conduct a market analysis before you write your book for one reason: to create the best possible end product, in this case, a book. That means you need to evaluate the information you accumulated and put it to use.
You want to know if your proposed idea will address the needs of your ideal reader and if enough such people exist in the world to make publishing your book a viable business proposition. Are there enough people out there who will want and need your book to make publishing it financially feasible or profitable? After all, that’s what a publisher looks at.
Those book ideas that have no market at all or indefinable markets as far as specific figures are best abandoned—that is, if you want to produce a successful book by publishing industry standards. If not, you can pursue ideas as indie projects—and books of your heart. However, an agent or publisher will not take on a project unless it has a promising market. Evaluate your project objectively with this in mind. Know that you are taking a risk if you choose to proceed with a book that has no market—a risk a seasoned publishing professional most likely would not take.
Small publishing houses might be willing to take a risk on a book with a small or niche market—if some other factors are in place as well, such as a strong author platform and promotion plan or indication that your proposed book might meet or exceed competitive books’ sales figures. Knowing this, if you want to have your book traditionally published, you will need to look at your market statistics and make an objective determination about what type of publisher to approach.
If you have a market with promising figures, moving forward may seem like a no-brainer. However, sometimes a large market isn’t necessarily the best thing. An agent or acquisitions editor might look at your book idea and think, “This book might not sell well because the market is too large. It’s not unique enough to gain traction there.” In such a case, finding a way to narrow the market by subject, them or a new angle will help your book succeed.
With your market analysis complete, determine if your book idea seems viable or how to make it viable. Should you:
- continue forward with your project?
- go back to square one and conceive a new idea with a bigger market or a more viable niche market?
- rework or re-angle your current book idea to fit a market, thus making it a salable
If you’d like to learn more about how and why to conduct a market analysis, read these three posts:
- How to Describe the Target Market for Your Book
- Is Your Book Idea Still Viable Even if Your Market is Small?
- Why a Competitive Analysis Improves Your Book’s Chances of Success
Or join me August 26-September 30 to learn How to Craft a Proposal for a Book that Sells.
How to Craft a Proposal for a Book that Sells
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