This section has numerous titles, but basically what the publisher wants to know in this section is who your audience is? What segment of the marketplace will be interested in reading your book? Who are your potential readers?
It would be nice if we could simply say that we’re writing for everyone. Or maybe we could narrow it down to all men or all women or all teenagers. But remember that publishing is a business. Before an editor will show interest in your book he needs to know that there is a specific market for your book.
There are several ways to hone in on your readers:
1) Age and gender – This is the broadest group and should never be the only one used to define your audience. Narrow your target audience based on the genre and the ages of the protagonists. Are you writing romance with protagonists in their fifties? Then your audience is most likely going to be women over the age of forty. Is your book a thriller with a male protagonist in his thirties? Then your audience is most likely going to be males in their twenties through their forties.
2) Groups interested in your book’s theme – What is your book about? Where does it take place? What type of jobs do your protagonists have? Use these type of questions to narrow down your target audience. Is your protagonist an older gentleman who runs a ranch? Then your target audience might be older readers who love horses. Is your protagonist a young female CEO? Then your target audience might be young working women. Is your book about a couple who discover that they have superpowers? Then your target audience might be those who love superhero movies. Is your protagonist a retired Hall-of-Famer who’s starting a baseball camp for kids? Your readers might be parents whose children play recreational baseball.
3) Readers of other books similar to yours – Think of other books you’ve read with similar themes or writing styles. Is your book a character-driven techno-thriller? Then maybe readers who like Tom Clancy books would like your novel as well. Do you write romance novels with characters that have careers in law enforcement? Then maybe readers of Dee Henderson.
Important note: DO NOT state that your writing is like or as good as a well-known author. You’re not comparing writing, you’re only pointing out that those who read a particular well-known author would also enjoy your novel.
Try to come up with at least one example from each of the above categories. If possible, find statistics. State how many box-office hits were superhero movies in the last five years. Give a percentage for the number of families in America with children involved in recreational baseball. State the number of thrillers that have been on the best-seller list in the last year. Publishers want to know how large your reader base is.
Also included under this category are:
Uniqueness – What makes your book different from the many others published in this genre?
Series Potential – Do you have plans for other books to follow? If so, give a little information about each and their status. Is there a possibility that this book could lead to a series? If so, state why.
Endorsements – Has anyone endorsed your book or agreed to write a foreword? If so, state who the person is and why his or her endorsement will help sell your book.
The bottom line for this section of the proposal is to show that there is a market for your book. You want to show that you have a wide market base, but a specified market not just a generic market base.