My Audience of One- Finding your reader through self publishing- Finding your audience- Keith Urban’s Story. In the self publishing journey it is not always obvious who your audience is. In fact the reader who loves your book is not always even clear until it is written and distributed and is often a singular person type or in more recent marketing terms Avatar.
Here is a true story about my first self publishing journey and how I learned about ‘My Audience of One’ by watching Keith Urban on an ABC show by Zan Rowe 15 years later:
Finding your Audience- Keith Urban Finds His Audience of One
In Zan Rowe’s ABC ‘Take Five’ interview with Australian musician Keith Urban, he ‘opens up’ about struggling to break through as a recording artist and the strength he derived from ‘the process’.
I was taken by the fact that for many years prior to his ‘success’ as a recognised Nashville artist he played at bars and struggled to gain a large audience.
However, he was encouraged by one guy who kept going to his bar gigs and so Keith asked why he kept coming along and what was he doing wrong?
The guy said something like ‘you aren’t doing anything wrong. It is just that I am the only person in the room who loves your songs’!
My Story- Finding My Audience- Through the Camino De Santiago
This made me remember.
I wrote a book in 2007 on a trip I did with my young family on the Camino de Santiago (The Spanish Pilgrim Trail) called ‘The Way of a Thousand Arrows’. It won an award with the NSW Writers Centre, where I had spent time learning how to write and self publish.
At the time, the ‘self published’ book was looked down upon and I spent many months feeling I was ‘outside looking in’ on other newly ‘published’ authors who were gaining recognition.
For the first time in Australian history also there were three Australian books published on the Camino, of which mine was the only self-published. I watched, disheartened while the ‘published two’ were interviewed by the ABC and my requests politely declined.
My Self Publishing Journey
Unperturbed, I printed 300 copies, created a web site, self marketed the book with my wife, and walked the library circuit all across Sydney doing author talks and getting people interested in the Camino and our book. The library audiences were modest in size (around 10 to 20 people) with a couple of talks of around 100 attendees. The average we sold was about 5 books at each author talk and often it was bought by a mum or grand-mother who wanted to gift it to younger adult family members.
Writing for The Library Path to Self Publishing
Over an intense one year marketing we only sold about 200 books and today I still have 15 left in the bookcase. However we had reached hundreds who loved the book and author talk because of the connection with an amazing cultural journey but also the connection to family. The book was also included in each of the libraries as part of the author talk process.
I thought at the time however that it was too difficult to gain further traction market wise and so I let it go and moved on.
Meeting my Audience of One Years Later
Then 15 years later, (last year); a young mum emailed me, asking for a copy. She said it was for her son, and could I sign it. What touched me particularly was the fact she said she was going to read it again for herself before posting it to her son.I asked why and she said something like ‘because it is close to my heart’.
After reeling emotionally, I thanked her and later named her ‘my audience of 1’ as she made all the painful journey worthwhile in a moment. I realised the same ‘audience of one’ came out of the library crowds to buy a copy all those years ago.
Zan Rowe interviews Keith Urban
Many years later also and only recently I saw the Keith Urban interview by Zan Rowe. In a way, he describes his audience of 1 also.
There were eventually thousands of Keith’s ‘audience of one’ and it turns out he just had to find them and that success may just have a longer time frame.
At a simpler and more accessible level, also perhaps, ‘success’ simply lies in understanding and connecting with the people who love your work, no matter how many there are.
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Thanks for reading our articles on Self Publishing. We wish you luck in your camino or path to reaching your own audience of one.