When an entrepreneur looks to market their business, they’re encouraged to create an Avatar of their Ideal Client, and I thought it might be interesting to look at doing the same thing to identify my Ideal Reader.
It wouldn’t be fair to do this for our co-written work without David’s participation, so I’m going to answer some questions from the perspective of my memoir/family history WIP.
What’s their name? You don’t have to give your ideal reader a name, but I went with the dual-gendered option of Jo/Joe.
Are they mostly women or men, or mixed? Statistically speaking, women predominantly read fiction, men predominantly read non-fiction. This is one genre where that doesn’t hold true, so I’d expect my ideal reader to be a woman. Jo it is then 🙂
How old are they? Older, probably 40+.
Are they married? Single? Any children? Any, or all, so long as they have access to a disposable income.
How do their earn a living? If married with children, they’re either non-working or have a part-time/lower income role. If single or without children, they’ll be a professional, but employed. In the oldest age group, it’s likely they’ll be retired.
Where do they live? They’re most likely to now live in the UK, but it’s probable that they’ve either lived overseas themselves, or had friends/family who did – in particular, in India or Africa.
What do they do for fun? Eat out, spend time with family/friends, travel, attend cultural events (art, music, literature).
What are their hobbies? Reading, gardening, walking, cinema, galleries.
Where do they eat out? Most often in local restaurants – the better chains or small independent, sometimes somewhere fancier (in a nearby city), somewhere special for a big event.
What do they drink? Tea, coffee, wine, beer, standard mixed drinks such as Gin & Tonic, Champagne for celebration.
What TV shows or films do they watch? TV – the current costume drama and/or thriller series, Great British Bake Off, Call the Midwife, Grand Designs, David Attenborough; films – current mainstream releases, adaptations of popular books.
Are they close to their families? Yes.
Where do they shop? For food in Sainsburys, Waitrose or M&S, also maybe a local butcher, delicatessen and/or farm shop. Clothes – from higher quality High Street and/or department stores. Quality materials and cut probably more important than fast fashion, but with cheaper fun pieces mixed in. The same mix of quality and fun for accessories.
What car do they drive? Practical and reliable rather than flash, German or Japanese brands predominate, probably bigger than they need. An SUV/estate car, especially if there’s children and dogs. If there’s no children, possibly a little fast indulgence.
Do they like materials things or experiences? They most likely have most of the material things they need, so there’s now a preference for experiences.
What are their core values? What’s important to them? Financial security, family, lovely home, friends.
What are the top apps they use on their phone? Kindle (or other eReader platform), Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram. Twitter feels like a place to find other writers rather than readers (who are not also writers).
What platforms do they use on social media? Facebook to keep in touch with family and friends -especially those overseas. Possibly Instagram – I recently came across the concept of #bookstagram, so that’s something to be investigated.
Who or what is their news provider of choice? Mainstream UK TV news channels, possibly CNN for a non-UK take. The choice of newspaper was a tricky one, as I don’t know how much people still read them. As a result, I’m only nominating The Times because I know of the lively and excellent quality Facebook group which sprung from the paper.
Do they listen to podcasts, read blogs, magazines? Which ones? This is the big question and one I’m going to need to take time to research. The magazines will be relatively easy to establish, but the blogs and podcasts could be quite the rabbit hole.
Where do they get their coffee? I know this question was more intended to be about where they buy their coffee presuming they brew at home, but I feel what’s of greater relevance for me is where they drink their coffee? I see them enjoying individual coffee shops where they can meet with friends, or simply stop for a coffee and/or a book when out for a walk (maybe with the dog). They’d probably also enjoy a proper afternoon tea.
When do they buy books? When it’s their birthday and Christmas (or they’ve been given gift cards), if they only read a few books a year. When it’s the book nominated by their book club. All the time, if they’re passionate and regular readers.
Are they of a certain affluence/disposable income? Yes, without a disposable income you cannot afford to buy books.
Does the cost impact on their decision? It isn’t the primary factor, but it must be fairly priced.
Answering these questions has been surprisingly helpful. I know have a fairly good idea of who Jo is likely to be and the life she’s likely to lead. I still have homework to do as I’ll need to figure out where her interests mean she might hang out, and make sure that she’ll get a chance to see and hear about my book when it’s available for purchase.
I used a mix of questions gleaned from various online sources, selecting between and repurposing ‘ideal customer’ type questions.
Do you have an Avatar of your Ideal Reader? If not, is it something you might consider trying?
© Debra Carey, 2022