How to Market a Memoir: Top Tips from the Experts
Indie authors can have quite an uphill battle when it comes to marketing a memoir. When we buy a memoir, it’s because we want to know more about a person’s life, or what they have to say about a certain subject. Therefore, we’re less likely to pick up a memoir written by someone we’ve never heard of.
Then again, on the bright side, some memoir-writers will find that their book comes with an already-defined target market — and when it comes to your life, you are the ultimate authority on the subject. For instance, if you write science fiction, sure, you can target your book to readers who enjoy that genre, but you’ll be competing with a monstrous number of other books. If you write a memoir about leaving your home country of Canada, and spending 15 years working as a gardener for a wealthy family in Spain, well, you’ve got a host of niche groups who might be interested in your real-life accounts: Canadian gardeners, expats living in Spain, Mediterranean people interested in the lifestyles of the wealthy, etc.
This article will cover three of the most essential components of marketing a memoir: determining who your readers are, figuring out how to connect with them, and establishing yourself as a reputable and compelling source on the subject matter. To ready you for your hike up the steep hill to memoir sales, we’ve sought advice from several of our top marketers.
Determine your target audience
In our post on how to write a memoir, we asked authors to consider who they are writing their memoir for. This is a necessary question that bears repeating in this article as well. Due to the fact that a memoir is a personal thing, your answer might be, “For myself, to tell my own story” — and that’s wonderful. But if you would like to successfully market and sell your memoir, you have to think beyond yourself and step into your readers’ shoes.
“Some indie memoir authors do not sufficiently think about what aspects of their story will resonate with an audience,” warns marketing consultant Laura Bastian. “Before putting pen to paper or outlining your memoir, it’s important to think about how your story will connect with other people. Define the audience as clearly as you can — who are they, where will you find them, how will they find you, and how will you get them to care about your story?”
If you’ve already finished your book or are in the process of publishing it, and suddenly realize you haven’t given much thought to your target audience — don’t panic! Follow the advice of former marketing manager for Amazon Publishing, Justin Renard: “Start with your subject matter. Tap into the hook or interest area of your narrative non-fiction to connect with your audience.”
Here are a few questions to ask yourself when considering who your target readers are:
- What genre of memoir are you writing? A few popular types are nostalgia, misery and inspirational, celebrity, and sports. Are there sub-genres you can identify? The more defined you can make your ideal reader, the more tailored and effective you can make your marketing.
- How old are your ideal readers? Is your book one that will speak more to retirees or to new graduates?
- Does gender factor into your target audience? “Blue is for boys and pink is for girls” is an antiquated notion — that being said, you’re generally more likely to have a broader readership of women for a memoir about motherhood. While gendered marketing should