Have you ever tried researching your genre’s audience? Just Googling fantasy readers? You won’t find a lot. Most of the content is usually dated or you can’t vet them. I’ve tried using those databases you can only access through your school or local library. Even then, it’s difficult to find genre market research data.
Why do I need to do market research? Everyone can enjoy my book. Plenty of posts have addressed this topic. Everyone is not your audience. There is no book out there that everyone likes. No product that’s for everyone. Even the bestsellers.
If finding data on your audience is so difficult, how can you do market research? Social media’s great for that.
A comment on a Facebook group drew me to Reddit. Now, that’s a place to do some great market research. I was actually surprised. For some reason, Reddit didn’t have that good of a reputation in my mind.
I follow r/fantasy. I don’t comment or post. Mostly, I pop in every now and then and read the discussions. Often people will ask what readers like and dislike about fantasy-What do you wish you saw more of in fantasy? If you see a trend in the comments and your book has it, use it in your marketing. If you see more people want magic in their books and your story has a lot of magic, focus your marketing on that aspect.
Sometimes people will ask for recommendations similar to a certain book or in a certain subgenre. Something like this: Looking for recommendations for dark/gothic/supernatural high fantasy? Check out the recommendations on Goodreads or Amazon. Read reviews. See what keywords people are using to describe them. Use those keywords in your marketing campaign. Check out the author’s website. Do you notice any trends in the design?
Do those authors have social media accounts? Where do they spend the most time? I found most fantasy authors in my subgenre have Facebook author pages but aren’t active on them. They spend their time on Twitter or Facebook Groups.
This next part may sound a little stalkery (because it is) but on Goodreads, people often list their hobbies. Look at the Goodreads profile of those who enjoyed books you discovered on Reddit. See if you notice any trends. Most of my audience plays video games. Knowing hobbies will give you a better picture of your audience and could dictate the kind of keywords you use in your marketing. But, still, be authentic. If you see your audience enjoys video games and you know nothing about them, don’t include that topic in your marketing campaign. You don’t want to sound like a parent trying and failing to use modern slang.
Below are some Reddit groups you should check out.
It is true that readers may like a book they don’t normally read. I generally don’t read fantasy without magic but I’ve found some books I enjoy that don’t have magic. If you have unlimited time and money, you can market to those people. But, most of us don’t. Why waste your time and money marketing your fantasy romance story to someone who hates romance in their fantasy? Shouldn’t your bandwidth be spent marketing to people who are more likely to buy your book and spread the word?