Reader Quest: The search for the mythical target audience.

The world has 6.9 billion people.  These United States, 311 million before the 2010 census results.

R. R. Bowker book industry report for 2009.

2009 more than 40% of Americans bought a book.  (2008 figure was over 50%).  Average age: 42.  With Fantasy (science fiction) being purchased (believe it or not) evenly by men and women (where women average 64% of all purchases in other genres of fiction and literature). 

From Literary insights:  Book industry Study Group

55% of (Hard) Science fiction is still bought by men, though 65% of all fiction purchases were made by women.  (We may assume (soft) Science fiction/fantasy tends toward more women purchasers).

Book editorial and marketing stats:

@7% of all fiction sales are in science fiction and fantasy (perhaps a bit more because this excludes occult and horror, all of those SF/F stories that get lumped in with mainstream or contemporary fiction and literature, and young adult.  I suppose a case could be made for 10%).

What does all this mean?

Well, sticking with just the U.S., we begin with 311 million people.

We first have to subtract the roughly 20% under 13 (the above statistics exclude them)

That leaves @ 250 million Americans.

40% of this is 100 million book purchasers.

53% of these peope read fiction. (Publisher’s Weekly)  That’s 53 million fiction readers.

7% of that number is roughly 3.5 million purchasers of science fiction and fantasy.

For me, that is a potential target audience of 3.5 million readers.  (A conservative estimate).  So all I have to do is figure out how to connect.  And the Author’s Guild suggests that 5,000 books is a good sell for fiction…  But how to connect?

Sure, there is the standard response found in the word of the decade: “Networking.”  Advertise your blog on forums, facebook, linked-in, twitter, winken, blinken and nod.  Give readers some samples to chew on. Etc. etc.  But I am not talking about simple advertising or even marketing.  I am talking about locating and connecting.  That is not quite the same thing… if you know what I mean…  So, any thoughts?

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