This is How You Find Your Readers

  • Where can I find readers? someone asks me at least once daily.
  • Who is your demographic? Most authors have no idea (I didn’t know either when I first started).
  • How do I connect with them? What’s the best channel?
  • Is Social Media just for teens?

It’s not a mystery, but it does take some research, effort, and digging to answer these questions. And no, social is not just for teens. That’s so 2005.

Let’s deconstruct. This is how you find your readers by @BadRedheadMedia #readers #relationships #connection


Who Is Your Demographic?

What is your reader most likely to carry in their handbag or briefcase? This should give you a start.

Make a list. Is your reader a teen girl, a middle-aged stay-at-home parent, or a blue-collar worker? Write it all down. Then, head over to these resources:

  • Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that provides tons of great info about our world. Enter whatever search terms you’re looking for about demographics and it’s likely in there. All free info.
  • Hubspot: one of my favorite marketing blogs, hands down. If you know nothing about demographics or marketing, this is a great place to start! Their services are spendy, but the blog is free.
  • Buffer: next to Hubspot, my next favorite marketing and social media blog. Their blog is free, also, and separated by topics of interest.

Once you’ve determined who your demo is, you’ll have a better idea of where to find them.

Where Can I Find my Readers?

One of the biggest concerns from authors, especially, is their discomfort about being on any social media channel beyond Facebook.

This is too bad because readers are everywhere! Facebook is indeed the largest social media channel in the world, so being there is definitely important. Remember, however, that you must use your author page (not personal ‘friends’ account), for marketing and selling your work.

Example: connecting with readers, particularly if an author writes YA (Young Adult), is about being where readers are, and that’s on social media channels like Twitter, SnapChat, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram, and newer channels I probably haven’t even heard of yet. If you write nonfiction, channels like Medium and Twitter (and Twitter is a key SEO Google ranking factor) are key. If you’re an expert in some kind of business, LinkedIn can be critical to your success.

And don’t forget Goodreads and BookBub!

Let’s actually look at the data (Source: Pew Research):

According to the last full survey of social media done by the Pew Research Center, here’s the breakdown by channel:


71% of adult internet users/58% of the entire adult population

Fully 71% of online American adults use Facebook, a proportion unchanged from August 2013. Usage among seniors continues to increase. Some 56% of internet users ages 65 and older now use Facebook, up from 45% who did so in late 2013 and 35% who did so in late 2012. Women are also particularly likely to use Facebook compared with men, a trend that continues from prior years.


23% of adult internet users/19% of the entire adult population

Some 23% of online adults currently use Twitter, a statistically significant increase compared with the 18% who did so in August 2013. Twitter is particularly popular among those under 50 and the college-educated. Compared with late 2013, the service has seen significant increases among a number of demographic groups: men, whites, those ages 65 and older, those who live in households with an annual household income of $50,000 or more, college graduates, and urbanites.


26% of adult internet users/21% of the entire adult population

Some 26% of online adults use Instagram, up from 17% in late 2013. Almost every demographic group saw a significant increase in the proportion of users. Most notably, 53% of young adults ages 18-29 now use the service, compared with 37% who did so in 2013. Besides young adults, women are particularly likely to be on Instagram, along with Hispanics and African-Americans, and those who live in urban or suburban environments.


28% of adult internet users/22% of the entire adult population

Some 28% of online adults use Pinterest, up from the 21% who did so in August 2013. Women continue to dominate the site, as they did in 2013: fully 42% of online women are Pinterest users, compared with just 13% of men (although men did see a significant increase in usership from 8% in 2013). While Pinterest remains popular among younger users, there was an 11-point increase between 2013 and 2014 in the proportion of those 50 and older who use the site. Other demographic groups that saw a notable increase in usership include whites, those living in the lowest- and highest-income households, those with at least some college experience, and suburban and rural residents.


28% of adult internet users/23% of the entire adult population

Some 28% of online adults are LinkedIn users, up from 22% in August 2013. The site continues to be particularly popular among college graduates, those in higher-income households and the employed (although the increase in usage by those who are not employed to 21% from 12% in 2013 is notable). College graduates continue to dominate use of the site. Fully 50% use LinkedIn, a 12-point increase since last year. It is the only platform where those ages 30-64 are more likely to be users than those ages 18-29.

Hopefully, the next update will include sites like Snapchat, Periscope, and other channels which have captured some of the pie.

How Do I Connect With Readers? What’s The Best Channel?

The best way to connect with readers is to pay attention to this research, understand what your author branding is (what are your key topics of interest?), and share interesting and compelling articles, quotes, and visuals about those topics consistently on the channels where your the readers of your demographic are.

What’s your genre? What’s the age range? If you’re sticking to Facebook because you refuse to try out something new, and your readers are Middle Grade, well, good luck to you.

The best social media channel is the one that connects you to readers.

It’s not rocket science — none of these social media channels are that difficult to figure out, so here’s my suggestion:

  • Pick at least three social channels and follow/connect with readers, not other authors (or not ONLY other authors)
  • Learn how to use these channels via YouTube tutorials or their Help Sections (most are very user-friendly),
  • Download the mobile apps so you can use them on the go as well,
  • and just START.

This is how you find your readers by @BadRedheadMedia #readers #relationships #connection


Social media isn’t just for teenagers, so throw out that old, silly notion. Sure, teens use it and have phones growing out of their hands, but so do most adults at this point. Social media is an integral part of any author’s platform, and it needs to part of yours, too. Social is social, and it’s how adults and professionals network. Every one of my clients comes to me via online connections, mostly through social media, referrals, and networking.

Tip: I find it’s really helpful to join groups on Facebook and LinkedIn — not the ‘buy my book!’ promo groups most authors join, but groups with other interests (i.e., women’s groups, professionals, wellness, etc.), to sincerely build relationships and network. Eventually, someone will find out about your books and the news will spread like wildfire.

Social media is about building relationships and increasing visibility. The rate of conversion is fairly low, however, it will help you to connect with readers who will then opt-in to your newsletter, read your blog, click on a giveaway, or follow you to find out more – all of which can lead to a sale.

Do the work.


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  1. alisonmortonauthor on March 7, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Thank you, Rachel, for this vital information, I breathed a sigh of relief that I am on the appropriate channels for my demographic. Anyway, social media is fun!

    • Rachel Thompson on March 15, 2016 at 8:53 am

      quite welcome. The data is there for any of us to look at and I like that Pew is not skewed toward sales in any way — it’s factual, and we take from it what we need. I am anxious to see a more updated report, though!

  2. Laura McHale Holland on March 14, 2016 at 7:53 am

    Excellent advice, as always, Rachel. I’ll check out Pew Research Center for sure. I’m a little exhausted and overwhelmed with marketing, probably because I think I should do more than I can. One step at a time, right?

    • Rachel Thompson on March 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Thanks, Laura! Yes, baby steps. We only have so much time in a day, and using tools like Hootsuite or Buffer help tremendously. The 30-day challenge I created (if you missed it, sign up for my newsletter because I’m creating a book, out in May) gives daily assignments so you do a little here, a little there. First and foremost, focus on building relationships and continuing to write.

  3. Anne Flournoy on March 14, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Such a good post. Thank you Rachel. The specifics are gold. (Stil pondering the “What do they carry in their pocketbooks/briefcases” question. Kleenex? Lipstick? A train schedule? Not getting the insight… I can feel that this bank shot approach is certainly the way to go but I’m stumped. 🙁

    • Rachel Thompson on March 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

      Hi Anne! Well, think of it this way: do you right teen fiction? Then your ideal reader would likely be a teen girl, and she’d have a smartphone, lip gloss, other makeup items, music, books, movie tickets, a journal or diary…it goes on. This list gives you an idea of who she is. If you write for a 35yo professional business person (male or female), they’d likely have very different items in their briefcase.

      Maybe think of it this way: what are their interests? What do they read? Using the demographic info along with a list is a start. You really don’t know til you connect with live people, interact with them, and build your reader base, but you have to start somewhere. hope that helps!

      • aflournoy on March 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm

        Hi Rachel. I guess it;s the NEXT step that stumps me: how does the (smartphone, lip gloss, other makeup items, music, books, movie tickets, a journal or diary) help you with marketing? Thanks.

        • Rachel Thompson on March 22, 2016 at 12:06 am

          well, that should tell you that your demographic skews younger. where are younger girls on social media? google that. typically, though, they’re on Snapchat, Pinterest, Instagram. what are their interest? Boys, duh. But what else? Books, movies, makeup, causes, pets…write about those things, hashtag them, follow those readers on twitter.

          anything beyond that, we’d need to discuss in a consult one-on-one because I’d need to know exactly what you’re looking for, your book, your platform specifics, and I’d need to do a full analysis. I hope that helps!

          I provide a lot of free info here on my blog. Peruse the posts. 🙂

  4. Carol Cameleon on March 19, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Great advice Rachel, thanks. Now I’ve just to implement it! Good job my diary entries are pencil 🙂 Thanks for hosting #MondayBlogs

  5. perriforrest on March 21, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Rachel,

    Thanks for the article. As you know, I’ve been soaking like a sponge since we came into contact in ’13. At the expense of sounding stupid, please tell me how to go about using the tools you listed for Demographic. I don’t know that I’m exactly understanding how to get them to behave in a way that pulls back data. I went over to Pew Research Center, and was kinda lost. Can you…or anyone here guide me just a bit?

    Thanks in advance.


    • Rachel Thompson on March 22, 2016 at 12:10 am

      Hi Perri! good to see you here. Well, I’m not sure what you mean by ‘pulls back data.’ basically, you kind of have to guess at who your ideal reader is, initially: what’s your genre? who do you find is giving you feedback on your books (if you are published)?

      if it’s say, females ages 18-25, then you’ll want to go with the newer social media platforms. if older, then facebook is a sure bet. blogging is always going to help your SEO, but ultimately, connecting with readers without the ‘hard sell’ is best.

      all the spokes of the wheel count: social, blogging, optimized website, reviews, promotions, email marketing — but making sure to connect with the right audience is key. it’s not an exact science, and we tinker as we go.

  6. […] Source: This is How You Find Your Readers […]

  7. […] so fast there, cowboy. That’s a demographics question. What is your genre? Who is your ideal reader? Have you done any research? Do you have any […]

  8. Icy Sedgwick on June 6, 2016 at 8:23 am

    So much all of this! (I realise that’s horrific grammar, but such is my enthusiasm) I actually like using social media, and I was using it before I ever tried promoting my writing on it, and I think it’s brilliant for building relationships. I have people I talk to regularly who’ve never bought my book themselves, but they’ve recommended me to others – and I’ve usually recommended them for whatever it is they do to other people. It’s really cool when that happens 🙂

  9. carolynmcb on July 24, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Fascinating, and highly useful info in there! I’ve been on Goodreads for some time, and while I enjoy the site, it hasn’t done much for me as an author. As a reader, it’s fueled my already out-of-control obsession with books! While I have no way of knowing if Pinterest has done much for me, I always have fun there too. I’ve actually found bloggers there that I’ve learned quite a bit from. But I suppose that’s key, isn’t it? Have fun and be patient.
    Confession: I found Pew quite overwhelming. BUT I learned where to at least start looking from this post. You’ve explained it so much better than anyone else out there on the web! Thank you.

  10. […] Demographic: I share lots of interesting content (other than ‘buy my book!’ because dear god, if that’s all I knew how to write, why on earth would anyone buy my book at all?), articles, other people’s posts and articles, quotes, pictures, videos, and yes, the occasional promotional giveaway or sale, all having to do with what my demographic is interested in because I targeted specific people with similar interests. […]

  11. […] Demographic: I share lots of interesting content (other than ‘buy my book!’ because dear god, if that’s all I knew how to write, why on earth would anyone buy my book at all?), articles, other people’s posts and articles, quotes, pictures, videos, and yes, the occasional promotional giveaway or sale, all having to do with what my demographic is interested in because I targeted specific people with similar interests. […]

  12. […] Know your demographic. Who is your ideal reader? Most authors have no clue (I know I didn’t at first, either). The best place to start: Pew Research Center. Tip: Everyone is not your demographic, no matter how much you want that to be true. […]

  13. […] your demographic in mind – don’t just follow other authors. Branch out. Find where your readers, bloggers, […]

  14. […] Research and strategically identify your reader demographic (here’s how), […]

  15. […] so fast there, cowboy. That’s a demographics question. What is your genre? Who is your ideal reader? Have you done any research? Do you have […]

  16. Dan Alatorre on January 29, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Great article. Thanks for sharing the info.

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