I was comparison shopping yarn and browsing through reviews, when I came across someone complaining that 100% wool yarn smelled weird when wet.
Well, yeah … being wool and all, it does smell like it came from an animal — especially when wet.
Last year I made inquiries about different self-publishing avenues, and was warned that I needed to be careful about the sort of readership I catered to. I’m not talking about “target audience,” but rather something more specific that has popped up with the rise of social media.
For example, the general consensus was that people who wanted to read books for free, were also the most entitled, demanding, and critical. So, while it might be easier to get readers, the “fans” were abusive enough to make you regret it.
To get back to the beginning, the review complaining about the wool yarn made me think about self publishing.
On the surface, you might think that “crafty yarn people” counts as a specific group, but once you dig deeper, you discover that some of them can’t stand things like inconsistent thickness, knots in the yarn, or the smell of animals fibers. Others, like me, prefer the unique personalities of handspun yarns, don’t mind working around knots, and enjoy the characteristics of natural fibers. The two groups might fit under the same crafty umbrella, but the sort of yarn they want is completely different.
Self-publishers need to think about more than a general target audience. Metaphorically speaking, trying to sell handspun wool or acrylic yarns to the wrong subgroup is going to end miserably.
And frankly, with something like writing, authors need to be mindful about where they go searching for their readers. No one wants to get sucked into catering to an audience that kills all the joy out of writing.