40 Questions to Discover Your Ideal Book Reader

Apr 30, 2020

Meredith Hill,  co-founder at Gifted Travel Network says, “When you speak to everyone you speak to no one”.  As an author, it’s imperative to know who your ideal reader is. You may think you know what kind of book to write but until you know who the reader is, it will be very difficult to write the book with a specific experience in the correct style and language.  

Furthermore, knowing who your ideal reader is will make it easier to set up your marketing plan, author platform, and bookselling strategy.  

If you don’t know who your ideal reader is yet, that’s ok.  Start with the Discover Your Ideal Reader exercise below.  The goal is to clearly create a persona of someone you can imagine will be reading your book. 

Discover Your Ideal Reader 

In this exercise, you will attempt to answer 40 questions across eight categories. If you don’t know the answer to a question, go on to the next question.  The goal of each category is to develop a part of your ideal reader so when you’re done you have a clear picture of who your ideal reader is. 

Keep in mind that not all of the questions will be relevant to your book but they may be relevant to your marketing campaign.  

Demographics

  1. How old is your ideal reader? 

  2. What gender are they? 

  3. What is their marital status? 

  4. How many children do they have? 

  5. Where do they live? 

Career 

  1. What is their occupation? 

  2. What industry do they work in? 

  3. What is their annual income? 

  4. What is their level of education? 

  5. What is their dream job? 

Personal Interests 

  1. What are their hobbies? 

  2. What books do they like to read? Do they even like to read?

  3. Where do they spend their free time? 

  4. What blogs and websites do they like? 

  5. Where do they go on vacation?

Values

  1. What is important to them? 

  2. How do they define success?

  3. What do they value? 

  4. What do they want to accomplish in life? 

  5. Are they religious/spiritual? 

Pain Points

  1. What does your ideal reader worry about? 

  2. What keeps them up at night? 

  3. In what areas of their life have they failed? 

  4. In what areas of life do they struggle?

  5. What issues/concerns cause friction within their relationships?

Connection / Socializing 

  1. How do they connect with others? 

  2. Who is important to them?

  3. How involved are they in social media? 

  4. How do they communicate? 

  5. What is their preferred communication medium?

Purchase Behavior

  1. How do they consume products and goods? 

  2. Do they eat out or stay at home? 

  3. How much online shopping do they do compared to retail shopping?

  4. Are they savers?

  5. Do they have disposable income?

Current Book Consumption

  1. What books do they currently read? 

  2. What authors do they follow? 

  3. What genre(s) do they like to read? 

  4. Why do they read books? Information? Escape? Personal Development? 

  5. Where do they get their books? Library (app or brick and mortar), independent bookstores, or on-line purchases?

The questions and categories above help to determine the psychographics of your market; the psychographics show you a trend of values, attitudes, interests, personalities, and lifestyle. From your answers, you’ll be able to identify certain buying habits, as well as how you can reach readers. 

After you have answered at least some of the questions from each category write a short paragraph about this person.  Here is an example

Jeanette is a 33-year-old female who lives in New York, NY.  She works as an investment banker on wall street and makes well over six figures but at the cost of her personal life.  Jeanette has been on wall-street for nearly a decade and has been thinking about how to better have a work-life balance.  When she does have a moment to herself she likes to get out of the city and visit nature and take time to get lost in the latest science fiction or the latest non-fiction business book in investing.  Jeanette is single but has extended family close by to keep her company.  The biggest challenge in her life is figuring out the next steps in her career and making the big decision to take a long-term sabbatical or change jobs completely.

Don’t you feel like you have a sense of who Jeanette is and what she values in her life? Taking the time to discover and create an image of your ideal reader is time not wasted.  It’s fun and if you’re writing a fiction book maybe your ideal reader will become one of the book characters. 

Now get out there and create!  

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