• Sally Collings

Get in touch with your readers.


In my last post, I talked about defining your target reader—who they are, what you know about their interests, their age, and other demographics. To know why readers will buy your book, you must understand them on a deeper level than simple demographics.


There are three main reasons readers buy nonfiction:

● To be entertained or transported: primary driver for memoir

● To be informed: primary driver for political, historical, or current events books

● To solve a problem in their lives: primary driver for prescriptive books


Your book should provide a solution to your readers’ primary challenges, which means you need to understand what those struggles, issues, or problems are.

Plant yourself in your reader’s shoes, examine the topic of your book from their perspective and dig deep into their wants, needs, challenges, hopes, goals, and big aspirations. The better you do that, the better you’ll be able to engage them page by page, chapter by chapter.


Try imagining your target reader going about their daily life, doing something that’s related to the topic of your book. Maybe they’re stepping on a scale, struggling with a career move, or planning a trip. See your reader doing whatever it is they might actually do that ties into what your book is all about.


Readers want more than an author who understands their struggles. They also want an author to give them hope. For them to connect with your content, you have to understand what kind of hope they’re looking for, and what kind of change they want to make happen in their life.


Consider what expectations readers might have about your book. People who read books tend to read more than one, and they tend to read more than one about a particular topic. That means they’re coming to your book with certain expectations, based on how other books have engaged them or helped them, and what gap they now seek to fill.


Ultimately, understanding your readers at a deep level is critical because every decision you make about your book should begin with your reader. It will help you make decisions about your book’s structure by understanding the journey your reader wants to go on. And it can help you make decisions about what stories you’ll tell, what research you’ll share, and more.


Find out more about the How To Write a Successful Nonfiction Book course here: https://yourwritingcoaches.teachable.com/p/writing-successful-nonfiction-book

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