Who Will Read My Book?

Today’s post is something different! This blog is an experiment in revealing personal aspects of my spiritual journey as I prepare to write a spiritual memoir. But today I am focusing on things I have learned in an intensive five-week course called “Book Marketing Challenge” by D’vorah Lansky.

When asked to reveal my favorite challenge, I have to say that it was the very first day when the topic was “Identifying Your Target Audience and Building an Author Platform.”

When I published my Workplace Spirituality: A Complete Guide for Business Leaders  in 2006, it was easy to identify my target audience: I wrote the book specifically for supervisors and middle managers in business and also for college students beginning or considering a business degree.

The book that is now in the planning stage is a spiritual memoir.  I had not given any thought to defining a target audience, so these thought-provoking questions gave me pause:

  • What is the message of your book?
  • Why do you want to share your message with the world?
  • How can the message of your book help your readers?
  • Who are your ideal readers? (Be as specific as possible.)

My answers at that stage of the game consisted of variations on the following theme:

“Gee, I dunno… I’m sharing a personal story and I thought you might be interested, in case you have had similar experiences and are afraid to express them.”

That was clearly inadequate!  Who thought you needed to define an audience for a personal story! Now I knew!

I spent most of the rest of that day working on answers. First I did some research on the reported frequency of religious or mystical experiences, or “peak experiences” as described by Abraham Maslow. Then I made significant progress in clarifying the message of my book and creating a working definition of my audience, with these answers to the day’s questions:

The message of my book is that direct experiences of God – what I call “startle experiences” –are real! Nearly 50% of Americans have had these experiences.

I want to share my message because traditional versions of nearly all religions are based on rules and retribution.

My message can help my readers  understand that God is not an angry, offended God seeking vengeance against them, but a loving God seeking intimacy wtih them.

My ideal readers are:

  • Christians who question the traditional message of a vengeful God who demands retribution in the name of justice.
  • Everyone who has had unexpected “startle experiences” of God and wants to know more.

With this as a foundation, I also reworked my book descriptions, elevator speech, and possible book titles.

Sometime in the next 10-12 months I will invite my followers to vote on my book’s title. The present version of my elevator speech, including one possible title, is:

Discovering Fire: From burned hands to a burning heart invites you to struggle along with Nancy Smith, as she deals with a severe burn and grows from passionate fundamentalism to a mystical experience of being stalked by the fiery Presence of God.

My target date for this book is September 2015 and I took the “Book Marketing Challenge” because I know that marketing and writing a book need to go along together! It is a book’s death knell to delay marketing until the writing is done!

P.S.  Please come and Like my Author Fan Page on Facebook.
I just set up the bare bones of it last night!





About Nancy Smith

Nancy Smith has 20 years’ experience in technical writing and management in software companies. She also has more than 20 years in Christian ministry as an educator, course designer, retreat leader, spiritual director, pastor, and coach. A United Methodist Deacon, Smith has her M.Div. from Boston University. She is a graduate of the Guild for Spiritual Guidance, and is certified in Spiritual Direction and Retreat Leadership from Boston College.
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19 Responses to Who Will Read My Book?

  1. Pingback: Welcome to the Book Marketing Challenge Community Blog Hop

  2. Peg Hubbard says:

    Nancy — your clarity is great! I’m looking at the same kind of audience — and thanks to all the great information I learned these past 30 days, have a much clearer vision of who I am as an author/coach, and who I really want to reach out to! Definitely some Divine inspiration led me to this challenge, and finding others like you here is such a bonus!

  3. Nancy Smith says:

    Thanks, Peg! I just visited your blog and left a comment — looking forward to “meeting” you again!

  4. moonrox says:

    Interesting blog post. I agree — the Book Marketing Challenge started out with a bang right from day one.

  5. Nancy, I see we share a desire to communicate God’s love for humanity.My forthcoming book and Coaching program that I developed during the Challenge is entitled The Genesis System-Five Steps to be Successful in Business & Life. I look forward to coming back to visit your blog.

  6. Nancy, identifying your audience and your “why” will help you gain traction and multiply your results. Bravo!

  7. You communicate your calling and deep commitment in every word. Wishing you great success.

  8. naturemystic says:

    Hello Nancy, Yes, startle experience does apply. Mystical experiences have always been a part of my life. I consider the Devine guidance to be a blessing.

    Feel free to sign up for my newsletter. The link in on the homepage of my website.

    Have a great day.

  9. Nancy, you have truly identified your path. I can’t even begin to count the number of times people have made comments to me in a judgmental tone to which I have simply replied, “My God is a loving God.” Recently in our new community I was refused communion because one of the members had made a comment to me about the creation. I responded that I believed in God and the story of the creation but when asked about the 7 days my response was that I wasn’t entirely sure that God created the world in 7 of my days. Obviously this man had missed reading his Bible where it spoke of a day as being a thousand days and a thousand days being as a day. Anyway, this man told the minister and I was refused communion. Never quite had anything like that happen before, but I chuckled as I walked away (and never went back) with one of my mother’s favorite comments: “Judge not lest ye be judged”. May your journey not only be guided by the wisdom we have all enjoyed over the past 30 days, but by a teacher who has your spirit in his hand!

  10. Desiree A Cox says:

    Very nice article, I like how from day one your thought process changed and became more refined. We both were able to get out in front of things before our launches. Much success to you.

  11. Jan says:

    Hi Nancy! Your book on Workplace Spirituality intrigues me. I’ll have to check it out. As a Career Counsellor for 20+ years, I’ve discovered most employers are not really tuned into spirituality. I think we all take your soul to work. It’s hard when that is not acknowledged. It seems there are many soulless work environments out there. Let me know when your new book is available.

  12. Sharon Smith says:

    With such clarity on your side, I know you will be successful launching your project in 2015. Liked your FB page. I look forward to sharing with you on FB.

  13. J.Q. Rose says:

    “Startle experiences” is the perfect way to describe it, Nancy. You have a message that will change many lives for the better. So happy the challenge was there for you to round out and complete that message. You are smart to begin networking about your book coming out in 2015. Please put my email on your “list” to notify me when it comes out. Sounds like it could be a wonderful Bible study at our UMC. (My daughter is the DCE!!!) I’ll keep you in my prayers.

  14. hmclarke says:

    I love the way you have set this out and I which I can come up with target marketing like this. I will admit that out of the Marketing Challenge this was the hardest for me. But now after reading this I am going to have another go at doing this.

  15. Pingback: D'vorah Lansky's 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge - A Literary Antipasto

  16. Pingback: Welcome to our Community Blog Hop

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