Updated January 22, 2023
Needs versus wants in non-fiction book marketing
Your needs and wants, as an author, can be surprisingly and distinctly different than those of your readers. But, once you realize these differences between you and the reader, you can focus on truly understanding your reading audience and their needs and wants. So, here is a short discussion to help you define and understand what your reading audience needs and wants in their own life, which has led them to you and your non-fiction book.
What you Will Learn
1. You will learn why your needs and wants don’t necessarily coincide with those of your readers.
2. You will learn why you must ask yourself the right questions to understand your readers.
3. You will learn how and why understanding the needs and wants of your audience will make you stand out from the crowd and thereby help you sell more books.
Introduction: There Is Great Value in Understanding Your Reader
Your needs and wants, as an author, can be surprisingly and distinctly different than those of your readers. What we non-fiction authors need and want within our own lives and what our readers need and want within their own life can sometimes be a far cry from each other.
But, once you realize this difference, you can focus on understanding who your reading audience is, their needs and wants, and what motivates them.
So, here is a short discussion to help you start to define and understand what your reading audience needs and wants in their own life, which is what has led them to you and your non-fiction book:
A. NEEDS (Functional Needs) Of Your Readers
Your readers (book buyers) have a functional need they are trying to satisfy when looking for a book that can help them improve their quality-of-life issues. This need might include finding out how to start a business. Or how to solve a business problem, such as finding more clients.
The list of specific quality-of-life issues we all need help and guidance with is endless. You, the author, have expertise in a few of these issues. Your job is to help your readers with one particular quality-of-life issue they seek help with.
By talking to your customers and clients, prospects, students, patients, co-workers, employees, friends, and family and doing an in-depth search on Amazon, you will begin to hear and see the most common quality-of-life issues people are searching for answers to.
Some problems will be simple and easy to discuss, and others will be much more complicated. Your job as an author is to provide practical and easy-to-understand solutions to the reader that they can apply to their situation.
B. WANTS (Emotional Needs) Of Your Readers
Your readers (book buyers) also have an emotional need, or desire, that they are trying to satisfy. This want might include feelings of joy that develop after completing a project, starting a new business, helping a new client succeed, or helping a student pass an exam, for example.
The list of emotional needs that people desire is also endless. You are helping your readers achieve, satisfy, or find the answers to the functional needs that led them to buy your book in the first place. And you will also be helping them achieve the wants or emotional needs they are trying to satisfy.
The readers might have first sought you out, visited your blog, and purchased your book based on their functional needs. Their drive to experience or satisfy their emotional needs led them to you for help in finding answers to their functional needs in the first place.
Conclusion: Bringing It All Together for Success
It must be a win-win relationship between you and your readers
When you write your non-fiction book, you must remember that needs and wants are inseparable. When a reader is searching for help, advice, guidance, and answers for a problem in their own life, they’re not thinking about their pain as a needs and wants situation – they’re thinking about getting solutions to their problem.
And you, as an author, expert, book marketer, and person looking to help others, already understand this about your reading audience. Understanding what motivates your readers will help make your book one that can genuinely help people improve their lives – just as you have already done with your own life.
This “understanding” you have of your reading audience’s perception of their needs and wants will put you in a much better position to create a book that will help them discover the answers to what they are searching for. Your book will then help you get a more devoted and trusting following and thereby help you sell more books. You get what you need and want, and so does your reader. It’s a win-win relationship for you and the reader.
Questions to Think About
1. What needs and wants are you trying to satisfy that made you an author?
2. Can you state your reader’s needs and wants in just a few simple sentences?