It’s Day 2 of the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge, and we’re focusing on defining and evidencing the target market. This is a tough job, one of the chewiest of the whole challenge (and that’s saying something….) but it’s also one of the most valuable. The typical mistake most non-fiction authors make is to keep their target market too broad (please, NEVER use the phrase ‘the general reader’ in a proposal). Big, well-established names might be able to write for a vast swathe of readers because the book will generate publicity and interest on the strength of their name. But as a first-time author seeking to build your platform by writing a book, you’re making things really difficult for yourself if you go after a broad target audience.
Several times in the group now I’ve recommended that challengers niche their book concept down to focus on a specific problem (and I remind them that if it helps, they can think of this as the first book, not the only book that needs to cover every reader and every situation).
For business books, you get to choose who you write for, and that means thinking about who you want to work with. What kinds of people in what sorts of situations do you most want to work with over the next 2-3 years or so? What situations trigger the dissatisfaction or impulse to change that would make someone like that reach for the book you could write to help them?
If you think about how you buy a book, it’s usually because either you know the author (personally or by reputation), or because the book is aimed precisely at you, or will give you the specific information you need. Write that book for the people you care about reaching.