Laughing peopleOne of the common pieces of marketing advice you will see is to identify your target audience. What sort of person will enjoy your book? Where might you find them? How old are they? Male or Female?

It can seem really daunting for a first time author, who (if they’re anything like me), figures that they can’t really know who will and won’t like their book. And what’s wrong with marketing it to everyone? If they buy it, that’s the important bit isn’t it?

From my recent experience, no.

I wrote a few months ago about discovering New Adult books, and thinking my book might fit into that category. Seeing as it’s a hot category at the moment, I figured it couldn’t hurt to try. So I gave away ten free ‘Read to Review’ copies of Reckless Rescue on GoodReads, and sat back to wait for the reviews. Most readers up until that point had been fairly positive, so I read the first review eagerly.

Only to find it not positive. The person hadn’t enjoyed my book. Had, in fact, found it slow and boring. Of all the reviews, I think that one is the most hard to take as an author. If it had been my first review, I would have been shattered.

Since it came on the tail of several people who’ve said they loved Reckless Rescue, couldn’t put it down, were eagerly awaiting the sequel, I instead put it down to someone just not liking the style of the book, and moved on.

Except that the next one was similar, and the one after that.

What had happened? People had loved my book, why didn’t New Adult readers?

A little more exploring and reading about New Adult (in articles that have come out since), has given me the clue. New Adult readers like really deep emotions, lots of angst, and intense sex scenes.

Which isn’t what Reckless Rescue is about. Yes, there are sex scenes, but they are more subtle, and more about the relationship between the characters than the physical sensations. They aren’t constantly ‘hot’ for each other. It’s closer to a sweet romance, though not closed door. A totally different style of book.

It did throw me off for a few days, but I’ve since had a few more positive reviews from other readers, and I’m confident that the problem is not in my book, but in the place I was trying to market it. Lesson learned. I figure the couple of bad reviews just give my good reviews legitimacy, and prove that they’re not all from friends and family.

How about you? Have you ever marketed your book to the wrong audience? And readers, have you ever read a book that seemed completely out of place in the category where you found it?