I participated in a book signing the other week, and another author congratulated me on finding a unique niche. I wish I could say that it was marketing genius or literary savvy that led me to write about characters experiencing midlife. But to tell the truth, I just lucked into it. As I began to prepare my book proposal and started to research the market, I realized just what an open, emerging market I’ve stumbled on: fiction written by and for Baby Boomers.
The main character in both my novels (Searching for Spice, 4/2008 and Out of Her Hands, 10/2008), Linda Revere, is a Baby Boomer with teenage/young adult children. She is active, thoughtful, optimistic, healthy, curious about life, and still sees herself as an attractive woman with a lot to offer. In short, she’s a compilation of us—women born during that period in history categorized as Baby Boomers.
The reader feedback has reinforced that I’ve struck a chord among Boomer women:
“I . . . am . . . Linda!”
“It’s extremely relatable.”
“Are you following me around with a video camera?”
“This is exactly what I’m dealing with now in my life.”
“Any parent of a teen will identify with . . . ”
“. . . rings with truths today’s working wives/mothers can understand.”
“. . . and along the way you just might feel, as I did, that you’ve found a “sister” in Linda Revere.”
“This was just the type of book that I needed to read as a baby-boomer.”
There are over 78 million Baby Boomers in America today. This generation of Americans has been aggressively engaged in cultural and political trends since coming of age. Remember that, “Don’t trust anyone over 30” statement of the 70s? That came out of the mouths of Boomers, young adults who wanted to grab onto life and affect their world.
Guess what? They’re not going quietly into the twilight. They’re here and they’re still fighting for what they believe in and what they have to say. From health issues to anti-aging cosmetics to active lifestyle opportunities, Boomers are still pushing their agendas.
And those 78 million Boomers include a huge chunk of today’s reading public. According to a 2005 article in Adage.com, the amount of time spent reading relates directly to age. People age 45-54 read nearly two times more than people in younger age brackets. It only makes sense that Boomers would be interested in reading fiction that reflects their lifestyle.
Other statistics prove that there is a great potential to marketing toward mid-life women. More and more, media attention is being focused on mature women, portraying them as hip, attractive and active.
In a 2006 article titled Hollywood vs. Women (Entertainment Weekly) urges Hollywood to pay more attention to women over thirty—referring to that hugely profitable demographic as “that great untapped market, grown-up women.” The article also states, “After all, somebody bought $241 million worth of tickets to My Big Fat Greek Wedding and it wasn’t high school boys. And Nancy Meyers’ Something’s Gotta Give didn’t earn its $125 million because comic-book geeks love Diane Keaton.
In light of that information, I believe that publishing might also follow those trends.
I don’t know if there is a magic formula to placing your novels in the hands of your target audience, but I’ve tried to market in ways to that might expose my books specifically to Boomers as well as the general audience. I’ve joined most of social networks most writers belong to as well as those outlets that cater to age-specific demographics such as classmates.com and eons.com. As a result, I’ve gotten almost 900 additional hits to my profile from Boomer-age people.
In a local campaign, I’ve been allowed to display my ARCs and distribute bookmarks in my community at a compounding pharmacy and my optometrist’s office. From personal experience, it seems a large number of women over 30 often frequent both of those businesses, either purchasing for themselves or running family errands.
Another way I’ve brought my book to the attention of my target audience is simply to introduce myself and offer them a bookmark. I do this in line at the Post Office, the grocery store, the shopping mall, or anywhere I find myself standing near a woman who looks approachable.
On another note, a friend of mine who is a public-health professional was given free tickets to a James Taylor concert last year. It turns out the concert was sponsored by a company that makes heart defibrillators. What a clever tie-in that was to reach that demographic! That’s the kind of ideas I’m striving for.
My most current marketing campaign includes searching the Internet for bloggers who may represent my target audience, sending them an email to introduce myself, asking if they would be interested in reading one or both of my books, and requesting they spread the word about my novels in their sphere of influence. The response so far has been great. These are women who are not the usual influencers, and they are flattered and enthusiastic to be a part of my marketing efforts.
I think most writers should consider casting a wide net in their marketing efforts, but it never hurts to try to reach out to readers who might specifically identify with your topic. I’ve been fortunate to have received great feedback from women of all ages. And when I get email from younger readers who enjoyed my book, they often say they’re passing the book on to their mom. How cool is that?
In this second novel by Megan DiMaria, Linda Revere is back and continuing to struggle with the turmoil of contemporary life. Linda has been praying for her children’s future spouses since they were very small. Confident that her prayers will be answered, Linda is not prepared for the young woman her son brings home. But Linda soon learns that while everything she once controlled is out of her hands, God is still in control. Megan uses her trademark humor while dealing with issues to which her readers will relate.