If you’ve been following my posts, you’ll know that I have been musing out loud about the need for innovation in the way we writers market our work. I have discussed “buying” readers via advertising to a targeted audience, and 87% of the poll responders in my last post indicated that they would spend approximately $300 to get in front of the right audience. Of course one still needs to find that “right” audience, which leads me to the subject of today’s post: The Writer’s Dashboard.
Of course I can only speak for myself but I would love to see an application that, based on my inputs, would provide me with a real-time “view” of where my readers are and what they are doing. The application would “crawl” the social web and return both single and aggregated views of where these readers are and what actions I should take. These views would be weighted; they would tell me who is most “likely” to read, enabling me to effectively martial my book-marketing efforts.
Of course there will need to be a “secret sauce” behind the application, for creating a model of what one’s “ideal reader” looks like, and where they are, is no easy task. For example, I just finished my first novel, The Book of Margery Kempe. It ranges across several different genres: women’s contemporary fiction, historical fiction, chick lit, spiritual memoir, even Christian fiction. I’m guessing, but I think that the works of many indie authors fall into multiple genres. Now, given my book’s genres, and accepting the notion that most if not all writers are readers, one would assume that I would also be a reader in those same genres, but that’s not really the case. In my down time, I tend to turn to mysteries or thrillers. So, what’s the connection between what I have written and what I actually read in my leisure time? Well, that’s why one hires smart programmers–and it’s probably the reason why they make the big bucks!
In any case, I have decided to build a small prototype of a Writer’s Dashboard. This will be a “thin slice” of what the version 1 product will be and it only focuses on Twitter, but it will enable me to put the application up and get some feedback on it. In order to get going, I have included a poll below which asks you to indicate what the most important inputs or search query elements are in the marketing of your book. I would greatly appreciate it if you filled out the poll. I will share the results, and the beta of the application, in a future post. Thanks!