Weird Westerns discussion

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Discussions > How Would You Identify Your Audience?

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message 1: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Hey Everyone,
So one of the key ways for any author to market themselves is by identifying who their audience is. Generally this is easily done by determining which genre your book is in but like this group how do you identify an audience with a genre that's not so known? Don't get me wrong, there's us and our books which fall under Weird Westerns, Western Horror, Sci-Fi Westerns but there's no broad groups in places that pertain to Weird Westerns. What I'm saying is, do you feel it's harder to establish and identify an audience with such a small area of people to reach out to?

I myself know that my audience starts with the readers of the names I've stated above and perhaps I look at comparing other my book to similar books but is there a simpler way of reaching and finding lovers and readers of the Weird Western or even Western genre?

I realize this could sort of be like how to help the genre grow but this thread is asking more along the lines of where that's already out there can an author go to truly establish themselves to find potential new readers?


message 2: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Great response V.M, I was thinking about those who have already read similar books on Amazon, just didn't know if it were appropriate to approach them. Though, if they have emails listed and don't mind I don't see any issue, nice response.


message 3: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Not only does one have to identify an audience but they also have to be able to locate and establish a basis with the way they go out it. Again it seems simple but we aren't exactly talking about a common genre here which makes all easy elements of trading ideas and comments of promotion alot more difficult.


message 4: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
At the least, the genre is becoming more common. That's pretty helpful.


message 5: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments It is becoming more common which you're right is very helpful and a very good thing. I would say however that identifying an audience(any audience not just this one) is more then just becoming a member of a group of that genre. Getting an idea of what people like about the genre a sort of what brings them all together aside from their big common interest is how to get a perspective on an audience. What I may like about it may differ from what you or someone else likes so the thing I'm wondering is if we can sort of share what it is about the genre that we like and we as a community become an audience so we see if we write or read similar things that we enjoy about the genre.

I hope that makes sense, I was sort of rambling toward the end.


message 6: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
That's what good discussion is for. This thread and others help with that. I'm hoping the group reads will help with that. Just gotta feed it.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

For myself, and maybe others are having the same trouble I am, my quandary is both identifying my audience and finding my audience. Sorry if this goes on a bit.

Since my first book came out, I've begged anyone I could who would listen to give it a try. Most people seem to like what I wrote, but I can't say they are fans or an audience; they are pretty scattershot. I thought it would be a good match for fans of not only weird westerns but sci-fi and fantasy as well; so far, I don't know. I've gotten little feedback.

I'm at odds with myself about what to do or how to correct this, really. A lot of research and reading I've done on marketing a book provide the wisdom that an author should already have a following or fans of some type before they write a book; a built-in audience. If that were the case my novel would still just be a document file sitting on my hard drive. I'm not a blogger by nature, and this group is really the only forum community I'm involved with - I don't feel I generally have a lot to say that would be interesting or insightful to most people, or wasn't information they couldn't find elsewhere. The other bit of wisdom, and the one that makes more sense, is produce a lot and get people's attention through bulk. I just don't have that built in audience, and certainly no clue how to get one, and I'm not able to publish that much work due to tight finances.
The other half of my thought I know comes from my upbringing and attitudes of the community in which I have lived most of my life - meaning, people would flock to my work if I had just written something better, more popular, and didn't suck at it. An unhelpful and destructive line of thought, I know, but one I've had to fight all my life.

But we are here to share and help one another gain a better understanding of our potential audience, where to find them, and how to figure out who they are. Hopefully we can also figure out how to get their attention.


message 8: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Lately I've realized that while I'd love to establish a rapport with the Western audience I think it would be better to engage with the weird western audience given its smaller and more compact right now. I feel if I can reach the fan base of weird western that would be a good start and maybe then I could branch off into western as a whole. I still plan on writing articles of wild west nature but that's about it when it comes to western straight up. I think we all would like to do this, try to promote, read and gather what we can from each other as a weird western audience and when it comes to normal western perhaps do a little but not try to throw it on people as not every western fan is a fan of the weird west as some of us have found out.


message 9: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 231 comments Well the western audience and the weird western audience can be very different..I still remember when Ashe first joined GR and tried to promote his weird western in the traditional western group..it was..interesting lol.


message 10: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
Seriously was not expecting that. Oh well.

I'm finding various folks on reddit. Since a lot of folks don't know about Weird Westerns being a thing, but they like the Flintlock Fantasy stuff, like the Powder Mage books, they'll ask for stuff like it. Last night, a person made a post about having finished those books and loved them but wanted something more "Victorian" in setting. I made suggestions and then did some shameless self-promotion and got a reply about how awesome it sounds.

So, there's another way to identify audience. Know your "keywords." "Victorian era," "Civil War era," are obvious, but you can usually sell a WW to a steampunk fan too.


message 11: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Quentin wrote: "Well the western audience and the weird western audience can be very different..I still remember when Ashe first joined GR and tried to promote his weird western in the traditional western group..i..."

Lol, yeah some people there are a bit hardcore about their Westerns that's for sure. I remember when I first posted about my book in there and the same guy who commented on Ashe's book was against mine. It was like giving an old man a Kindle or tablet and saying here read a book and he throws in down in disgust. But hey its not for everyone.


message 12: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 231 comments Justin wrote: "Quentin wrote: "Well the western audience and the weird western audience can be very different..I still remember when Ashe first joined GR and tried to promote his weird western in the traditional ..."

"Eh, you young whippersnappers with your KINDLES and your EMAIL and your SHAMPOO and your TOOTHPASTE..I dont have no use what for such things, eh?"

Ok it wasn't exactly like that but something along those lines lol.


message 13: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Haha, pretty much!


message 14: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
On the plus side, at least they didn't try to report us or something.


message 15: by Quentin (new)

Quentin Wallace (quentinwallace) | 231 comments Ashe wrote: "On the plus side, at least they didn't try to report us or something."

I think they rounded up a posse and went after you, good thing you moved when you did...


message 16: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
Ooooh weeeeell. I've gotten more comfortable self-promoing so it doesn't feel like as big of a deal now.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Ok, I'll post this question to you Ashe, but anyone who has reddit experience can chime in: what is the community for authors like there, really? Any time I've gone there it reminds me of a mash-up between Fark and 4chan. I'm not sure if it would be of any real help in both self-promotion, identifying audiences or even chatting, but people swear by it.

Any advice?


message 18: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
It depends on the subreddit you hit up. r/Fantasy is where I spend most of my time and the community is...okay. The mods are actively trying to figure out ways to encourage community and discussion while allowing unknown or smaller scale authors freedom to promote. Mostly, this is done in two ways. 1) Be a part of the community, join in discussion, actually add something and you'll end up being allowed more freedom to promo. 2) The bi-weekly self-promo thread that is posted every other sunday.

There's also r/fantasywriters and similar subs but as far as fantasy-type literature goes, r/Fantasy is where it's at. Mostly, you just find interesting discussions and dive in. I recommend hitting the New tab and scanning from there.

They also have the "Writer of the Day" that's for the indie folks, as opposed to the Official Brand Name AMA threads.

The biggest thing is treat it like you do here, ya know? No one likes it when someone shows up just to make a sole promo post and then never responds again.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Ashe wrote: "It depends on the subreddit you hit up. r/Fantasy is where I spend most of my time and the community is...okay. The mods are actively trying to figure out ways to encourage community and discussi..."

Okay, thank you. I'll look into it further.


message 20: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
It's not perfect by any means and there are folks who can be pretty vicious about the books. There are issues sometimes with recommendations all being the same 5 or 6 authors. You mostly just hhave to find your groove and pixk your promo opps carefully.


message 21: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments While I am currently promoting my crime thriller I started thinking about ways to promote and market my Western Horror. For starters, it's still as it was when I made this thread, because the genre "Weird Western" is so unknown I feel I have to go searching for a niche at times. Don't get me wrong I enjoy doing it as long as I come across a new group or place where my book will be welcome but it always sucks getting lost in the shuffle or not finding that one place you could be missing out on.


message 22: by Icy (new)

Icy Sedgwick (icy_sedgwick) | 4 comments Yeah, I've found my friends who enjoy horror are more inclined to give a weird Western a shot, but often people will resolutely not read a traditional Western. There seems to be a softening towards WW with the release of films like Bone Tomahawk and even The Revenant, so maybe it'll go a bit wider throughout this year.


message 23: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Icy wrote: "Yeah, I've found my friends who enjoy horror are more inclined to give a weird Western a shot, but often people will resolutely not read a traditional Western. There seems to be a softening towards..."

With the rise of western movies it makes me wonder if now is a good time to try and get in on the popularity by promoting my western. I don't mean a full on full fledged all out promotion but just a reminder to people that there's as good western books already out as there is film.


message 24: by Icy (new)

Icy Sedgwick (icy_sedgwick) | 4 comments Justin wrote: "Icy wrote: "Yeah, I've found my friends who enjoy horror are more inclined to give a weird Western a shot, but often people will resolutely not read a traditional Western. There seems to be a softe..."

Definitely remind them! My publisher made the first in my series free, and together with the new awareness of contemporary Westerns (rather than the John Wayne films most people think of) we did have some more downloads.


message 25: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 309 comments Icy wrote: "Justin wrote: "Icy wrote: "Yeah, I've found my friends who enjoy horror are more inclined to give a weird Western a shot, but often people will resolutely not read a traditional Western. There seem..."

Glad you agree! :) And yes making it free every once in a while is definitely good and I think if an author can build awareness of their book within fans of these latest western films perhaps they can not only gain sales but gain some fans of their own.


message 26: by Michael (new)

Michael Benavidez i'm barely diving into the Weird Western genre (as a reader at least), and i gotta say, it seems to be like most sub genres/genre mashups. It's a click thing, but also you gotta find those readers who are willing to experiment with one genre they love/enjoy moderately, and one they don't necessarily or never gave a chance. So kinda like someone said above, those keywords that will hook someone but also not scare them away.


message 27: by Ashe (new)

Ashe Armstrong (ashearmstrong) | 604 comments Mod
I had several folks say that about my first book. "I've never been into westerns before but..." I guess it's just hard to resist an orc in an Eastwood hat.


message 28: by Icy (new)

Icy Sedgwick (icy_sedgwick) | 4 comments It is difficult to find them - I had someone leave me a negative review because there were horror elements in a Western. A lot of people claim to like weird Westerns in TV or film but I don't know why they don't actually read them!


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