Finding your target audience as a novelist harder than one might imagine. You can never make assumptions about who might be reading your book because you’ll probably be wrong. (For example, did you know one of the largest demographics for gay novels are actually straight women over the age of 25?)
What changed the book selling world forever was the invention of the e-reader. It didn’t just make carrying around you entire personal library possible but now people could read anything they wanted without having to worry about the covers showing on the other side.
For authors is made finding out who was reading their books that much more difficult. In order to discover their target market, an author has to take time away from writing books and interact with their readers. Facebook, Goodreads, newsletters, blogs anywhere and everywhere you can strike up a conversation with a reader is the best way to discover who is purchasing your books.
Through these and other similar venues, authors can set up quick little questionnaires or polls. Keep it short and ask your readers to answer what their favourite sub-genre is or what social media site they like the best. Questions like where they read and/or when they get to read will tell you a lot about your demographics, are they Commuters? Moms? Grandmas? Do they prefer to be left alone to read or do they like interacting on Tsu, Reddit or Tumblr?
Also one of the best ways to discover your readers is to get out and meet them. Conventions like Romancing the Capital in Ottawa the offer an “open to the public” book signing is a priceless opportunity to learn who is attracted to your work. It gives you a chance to meet your readers face to face, and learn what is important to them. What are they looking for in a story? From there you can sharpen your work and focus on what your demographic wants.
Because in the end if you don’t know where to find your peeps…how will they find you?