I get a lot of proposals or pitches that say “there are 157 million women in the US, that’s my market” and unfortunately they’re mixing up the difference between a demographic and a market. Publishers (especially publicists) don’t take well to these things because it makes someone seem out of touch from a marketing and sales perspective which is very worrisome considering writers are doing more and more to market their own books–and publishers expect them to.
THE THREE MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A DEMOGRAPHIC AND A MARKET:
1. A Demographic is a population which generally unknowable in a marketing sense (without data), a Market is data-driven, tangible, and accountable. A Demographic is a fact and often an unattainable group. A Market is an engaged group of probable book buyers rooted in proof.
2. Do you know how to actually reach that Demographic? If so, you’re starting to get a Market. If you don’t know how to market to these groups then they aren’t your market–you can’t reach them to share your book news.
- Do you have a newsletter with subscribers or mailing list?
- Do you have an engaged social media following with numbers to back it up?
- Do you have a podcast with regular listeners?
- Do you belong to any associations or groups (writing, alumni, or professional)?
3. Can you quantify the number of people that will directly encounter your promotion, marketing, or publicity? That’s your Market. Family, friends, co-workers, social media followers, subscribers, associations, groups–this is your market! They will be the people that you share your promotion with. Your publisher will help with bigger markets: their own mailing lists, their distribution reach, their bookstore promotion, their social media circles, existing customers and more. Your publicist will try to increase your market: getting essays, articles, reviews and interviews in front of more eyes. However, you have to do the work too–by knowing the existing market you have and how you want to grow it.