About the Episode
The first step to creating an effective author platform is to understand the reader who will engage with it. In this entry, Rachel shares her process for getting to know her reader and and create a reader-centric platform.
📒 Show Notes and Resources 📒
Topics covered in this Entry:
- Discovering your reader
- Getting to know your reader
- Creating a reader-centric Author Platform
Click for Transcript
Write & Rally 2 – Who and How You Serve Your Reader:
[00:00:00] When I’m working with authors to try to kind of clean up their author platform, we talk about what kind of business they have, and we talked about that in the last episode. We talk about their XYZ statement. And then we talk about getting to really understand the reader. So those two things, understanding X, Y, Z statement, understanding your reader those are really key, key, key, key things in your author journey in this business setting up journey, that sets the tone for everything else.
Welcome to the Write and Rally series where I pull back the curtain on building your author platform while writing your novel. We’ll talk about the specific steps you need to take as well as tools that you can use to help you do it along the way so that you really set yourself up for success as an author. Hi, my name is Rachel Fahrenbach. I help fiction writers just like you get their novels into a hands of a reader. Let’s get to it.
So many authors jumped to creating their Facebook page and
[00:01:00] setting up their business website and all these things, and they haven’t done this key work.
They haven’t figured out who they actually are serving and how they’re actually serving them. And by how, I don’t mean like what products you’re doing, I’m asking you what kind of experience are you crafting for your reader and how are you making sure that’s coming across? So as far as, I’m gonna share my screen with you just for a second here.
What you’re seeing here is just a basic template I go through with people as I’m coaching them. Just some really simple information that we go over. It feels like a lot, but this is kind of information you need to know as an author about your business so that you can set it up really well for you and your reader. And one of the key things is of understanding your reader really, really well. And so what I thought I could do today was just go through what I am doing for my author platform and how this applies to it. [00:02:00] So like I mentioned before in the other video, Technically, my business name is Rachel Fahrenbach, it’s my personal brand, but for the sake of this, this series, I’m gonna just talk about this as my author platform. It’s Rachel Fahrenbach books. All right. And then the business model is gonna be more like a personal brand, not a business front. That’s what I mean by business model right there. All right. So as far as my reader goes, I start with my, like a lot of times people are like, okay, start with your X, Y, Z, figure it out.
I find sometimes it’s hard to write the X, Y, Z if you don’t already know your reader.
Let me just stop here for a second and say this. Sometimes you know the reader that you wanna target, and sometimes you don’t know until you start writing. If you have a novel that you’re writing and you’ve written it , and you’re like, I don’t know who I’m writing to.
I want you to take a moment, do this exercise with me. I want you to close your eyes and I want you to ask yourself, who is holding my novel? [00:03:00] And when she pops into your mind’s eye or he pops into your mind’s eye, I want you to ask yourself some key things. I want you to make some observation. When you’re thinking about your novel in the hands of reader who is holding it, that’s probably the reader you wrote it to.
So what is their gender? What is their age?. Do they have a wedding ring on or not? Do they have kids with them? Do you know they have kids? Like you? Just, you need to start making these observations and asking you these questions. Just like when a character enters into a storyline in your novel and you’re like, whoa, there’s a new character here.
And you have to kind of dig into them. You’re doing the same thing with your reader. You’re doing a character analysis. And the lovely thing about fiction writers is we know how to do this very well. And so it makes it a little easier for you than most.
So when I start to think about my reader, a couple things are true for her. My reader is defined, not so much on her age, which is [00:04:00] why I’m gonna have a very large age span. My reader is not so much defined by her age, but by her interest. My reader is intrigued by the idea of who am I and what does God have for me?
She is obsessed with this question of what is my purpose in life? She is creative at heart. And so she feels this tug to constantly be creating, but she doesn’t necessarily have the time to do it, and it feels selfish to make time for it. And so she’s the one that will pick up a book and read it when she has a spare moment, but she won’t necessarily go do the creative thing that she wants to do because a book is something she can easily put down. Whereas the creative thing, she wants to spend so much time with it that it just, it feels like to start something and then have to put it down just feels like it would just bring up resentment and bitterness.
So she avoids it at times and she instead focuses in on just reading or doing some other things. She will put her family before she puts [00:05:00] anything of her own in front of her, but yet she knows that there’s something missing and she feels discontent. She feels a little embarrassed by that, but she she knows there’s a discontentment there and she knows it probably has to do with her purpose.
And she knows that because she’s not pursuing those creative things and she’s not making space for it, that there’s something lacking in her, in her life and having that abundant life because she’s suppressing the very thing that she’s designed to do, and she’s trying to navigate all of that, and that’s the reader that I’m interacting with.
That’s the reader that’s in my mind when I’m watching her read my novels and engage with the, the characters in my novels.
This is just a template I go through with my coaching clients and we talk about this is just different aspects of business that we need to make decisions on, and we’ll talk about this in future, in future entries, but, As we move through it, cuz I have to make these decisions for the [00:06:00] Rachel Fahrenbach Books side of things.
So as we talked about in the last entry, this is kind of the business name even though it’s technically a part of my personal brand business. It will have more of that personal branding to it. But as far as my reader goes, there’s quite a large age range for my reader because like I mentioned before, It’s not really about how old she is, it’s more about the stage of life she’s in.
She’s married, she has multiple kids. So As far as primary role and secondary role goes, I’m gonna do a homemaker for her primary role.
And her secondary role is that she works part-time. Okay. Her hobby is creative in nature. I’m not gonna get really specific as far as to like what hobby that is. It could be writing, it could be painting, it could be music, it could be a couple different things. For her though, it’s something creative.
It’s the what she would do if she had a hobby. She should have a hobby. She just [00:07:00] doesn’t do it. And so she doesn’t make time for it. And so that’s part of the problem.
Okay, so as far as what one of her challenges is, what is one of her challenges right now? Her challenge right now is that she doesn’t have time. She feels guilty about taking the time to do creative things. She wants to.
Now, this is the question that’s very important, and this one impacts your X, Y, Z. How does this impact her future? For my reader? If she feels guilty about taking the time to do creative things, she’s gonna not do them. And here’s the thing, God designed her to do things a certain way. He designed her to be creative. And when she’s not engaging with him in that, in that almost active worship, she’s suppressing that her faith is gonna take a hit. Like it’s gonna her, her relationship with God is gonna take a hit because God designed her to do something. And when she’s not acting out of obedience to that design, [00:08:00] it puts a strain on that relationship. And so that’s where I would say for my reader, that’s what she is going to experience.
Now five words that describe your reader. I, these are things that I suggest you do, and the reason why is that the words that you choose to describe your reader and the words that you describe to the transformation she’ll experience by engaging with you and your work. I know these questions feel like they’re very, like, almost like they’re for a non-fiction writer.
Right? But here’s the thing. You as a fiction writer need to answer ’em this way because it helps you frame your platform not into like a how-to platform, not into a how-to blog. It’s not into tutorials. It’s, it’s not coaching. But what it it does is it helps you frame every piece of information you give her, give your reader, it will be framed in that experience that you’re leading her through that transformation that she’s gonna experience because of that experience, and it just helps her to engage you and know what [00:09:00] to expect from you. So, as far as my five words that describe my reader definitely creative loving purpose driven, you guys are gonna get first row seats to my inability to spell purpose driven. And let’s see. Creative is loving, purpose driven. She’s scared, she’s tired. I know that’s five words, but I’m, I’m w wondering right now. You know what, I think one of the words that I want to put in there is She’s not necessarily duty purpose driven. She’s duty driven. Like she has a sense of responsibility and so she is driven by that, but she also has a longing to do, to preach. And I, I will have to come up with better words for that. But for [00:10:00] right now, the idea, and this will probably as I write and I do post, there’s this instinction, like this instinctive thing inside of me right now that knows, okay, I, I know her, but I need to come up with some specific words.
And these are good words to start with. And I might adjust them as they come, as they go along. I might find that I’m using a specific word and I’m, that word resonates with my audience. I’m gonna use that word more than these other words. You’re not limited for the five, just five is a good place to start, but I know that she’s tired.
I know that she’s scared to, to, to pursue these dreams of hers. And that’s actually a better word now that I’m saying that all. See, see this is what happens when we brainstorm, right? She’s a dreamer. So she’s a dreamer. She longs to create. She is duty driven, so she often doesn’t create, because she feels a sense of doing something more responsible.
She’s scared of what it means if she actually pursues these goals and she’s tired because she’s carrying it all [00:11:00] on her shoulders right now. So that would be the person that I am, that I am writing these novels for. And hopefully connecting with through this short content I create as well as the novels that I create.
All right. List five words that describe the transformation she’ll experience working with you. It’s a couple things she’ll experience. She’ll experience a renewed I don’t wanna say renewed. Renewed, seems weird. She’ll experience working with me as she reads her novels she’ll deepening of her faith. Maybe rethinking, rethinking her sense of identity, rethinking her sense of purpose. Inspired. Now see, I’m getting wordy. This is what happens with us writers. We get wordy. Let me try to do this again with some really concrete words. Describe the transformation using five words she’ll experience with you.
It’s so funny, I do this with my clients and they always [00:12:00] have this problem too. It’s just what we are. We are writers, so we get wordy. All right? So the things that she will experience with me she’ll experience inspriation. Encouragement, validation. She will feel grounded. In some truth about her, in truth about identity and purpose and belonging. She will embrace her unique design, and I’m gonna put this in here because this is something that has been with me for a very long time in the writing that I do. And so it has come across, you know, you’re uniquely designed. God has made you for a purpose. You need to embrace it. And so that means something to me, and I, so I’m just gonna write it down here, even though that might come out a little bit differently in the, in the words that I do. But for me, that’s, that’s what I mean by.
So you can see kind of her starting to come to this forefront, [00:13:00] this woman. You can get even more detailed, like what her likes are, what her dislikes are. On my website, rachelfahrenbach.com/resources, you’ll find a like a character analysis page. I think it is our character development page. I forget what I called it, but it’s pretty much, it gives you, it’s a worksheet to go through to get this stuff on there, but also, Likes, dislikes, maybe some educa like demographic information, education, all of that.
But this is a good place to start, a good place to know the person that you’re reaching with your platform and with your novels. And you might be tempted to be like, well, my novels are for different people each time. I want you. Kind of maybe then pull back. You don’t necessarily have to identify a gender.
You don’t necessarily have to identify a marital status. But these things might come into play for your reader as far as that transformation. Her [00:14:00] demographics and psychographics might play a role in that challenge that she’s feeling and that transformation she’s gonna experience when she reads your novels, when she engages with you and your work that you do.
And knowing that information is really helpful because then it, it, it allows you to frame it. So I want you to think about it this way. When you had a college, you were in college and you were writing a paper for a professor, you would not write the same per paper for the different professors, right?
You would know what their expectations are, what they’re looking for, what the specific thing that it makes them interested, the things that they like, and you would tailor your paper to that professor. Even though it’s an essay, and essays are just done a certain way, right? We know that instinctively we have to tailor to our audience because we have already experienced this in high school and in college.
And so the same thing is true even in a fiction novel. We tailor it to the person we’re writing to. We tailor it in on [00:15:00] the word choices we use. We tailor it in. I, and I just thought of something as I said, word choices. One of the things I don’t have on here is her religion. So her religion. They’re Christians. And so you need to make, you need to figure that out for your reader. And so all of that makes a, all of that has a point to it. All of it is important. And so all of that informs your X, Y, Z.
So you can kind of begin to see how my reader is shaping up who she is, what kind of challenges she’s facing in life, why she would even read the books that I’m reading or writing. You’ll notice that my novels will tend to be focused around these issues of identity and purpose and belonging, and that this all relates to who she is as a reader. And so I wanna pull up a slide here for a second and show you this is an image that I’ve created that just to help you understand the x, y, Z statement. So I help blah, blah, blah, to do blah, blah. So [00:16:00] they can, that’s typically an x, y, Z statement.
Sometimes it helps to to change that, help word out the fiction writer to things like I create or I inspire, or I cultivate or whatever, I craft stories whatever that word is, you, that’s, you can use that word to kind of talk more about that, like creative side of making novels. So the x, y, Z statement really brings together who you are, who you serve, how you serve them, and why you serve them.
So you’ll notice here that like my bio and the format of sample content, long form sample content, short form, opt-in content, product content. That’s your novel. That’s not part of your X, Y, Z that doesn’t show up here. What shows up here is who you serve. So your readers like demographic, bios, whatnot.
They’re psychographics demographics that shows up in the X part of it. [00:17:00] The Y part of it is the experience, what your reader experiences when they engage with you in your work. And the z is the change. What is true now that your reader, that they’re engaged with you in your work. So I wanted to bring that up to just kind of show you so that you would know for yourself.
You know, I go a little bit more into this in that podcast episode that I talked about and a little bit more into my write and rally planner. I talk about this a little bit more, and you can get, if you don’t have the Write and Rally planner, you can get that at rachel fehrenbach.com/planner. But the reason I bring this up is because I think it’s really important that we as readers understand that we are not our X, Y, Z, it’s not, I create novels and that’s how I serve them. That’s not really how you serve them. So if I’m gonna bring up my thing here again, and I’m going to show you this for a second. [00:18:00] I was starting to write it and then I got, I stopped here. But so I craft inspiring stories centered around the topics of identity, purpose, and belonging. That’s too long. Now your x, y, Z statement can change and can grow over time. You might have to write like 16 fif, you know, 20, 70 of them before you find the one that fits the best for you. It’s always harder to do for yourself than for other people. Just fy.
I help busy creative women see themselves as God sees them so that they can [00:19:00] obediently pursue the dreams, the work.
Oh, we’re gonna say dreams. The dreams he’s given them.
Let’s go back to the x, y, these, so that might not be a full enough statement. So let’s go back to this. So who we got that they’re busy, creative, wi women. We, I craft inspiring stories that remind them who of who God sees them, so that they can obediently, pers, pursue the dreams he has for.
Actually, it’s right there. So I help busy creative women see themselves as God sees them. So that’s kind of fluffy, so we might get a little bit more concrete. I help busy creative women see how God has designed them to contribute his kingdom [00:20:00] work through their dreams?
No, not through their dreams. That sounds like he’s talking to them through their dreams, but the, I help busy creative women see how God has designed them to contribute to his to his Kingdom works so they can obediently pursue the dreams he’s given them.
All right. I think that’s probably encapsulates it a little bit more, and this will probably be refined more and more. This is not a tagline, that’s not the purpose of this. When you’re talking about what you do to people, you’re gonna like in interviews and things like that, this is gonna come part of it.
I help busy creative women see how God has designed them to contribute to his kingdom work so they can obediently pursue the dreams he’s given them. You know, that’s pretty concise as it is. I would probably say it a couple different ways to see if I could get it down even more so that it’s almost like eight words or less.
So it’s like a really quick statement I could say when somebody’s like, oh, what do you do? I would be like I could just say, I help busy creative [00:21:00] women see how they contribute to God’s kingdom work. Or actually, I probably would say I help busy creative women pursue, no, I probably would say, see, this is the process, you guys, you gotta work through it.
You just have to keep doing it and play with it and wrestle with it. But I help busy creative women obediently pursue the work God has for them. That’s probably how I would really hone it down. But my overall vision I know, is that I help busy creative women see how God has designed them to contribute to his kingdom work so that they can per obediently, pursue the dreams he’s given them.
I know that, so I’m gonna frame everything I do within that context, but when I’m talking to somebody and somebody says to me, oh, what do you do? I would say, I help busy creative women pursue the work God has for them. Obediently because obedient is really important to me as a writer. That’s like actually a very key, key thing about and now that I’m saying this, I’m gonna [00:22:00] actually go add that as one of my words in there.
That she’s gonna be obedient. That’s the transformation that she has. She’s going to be obedient. That’s a really big deal for me. I think it comes up in scripture a lot, especially when we’re talking about purpose and identity and belonging and. That’s gonna be a word that I use a lot in this branding. And in this platform.
I hope that kind of gives you a little idea of what you need to do with your reader and with your X, Y, Z to kind of really hone it in. I know I kind of flew over that, and I know that I just kind of gave you broad strokes and showed you what I was doing and talked a little bit about it.
If you need a little bit more of, okay, this x, Y, Z statement, how do II write it? You’re gonna wanna go watch the X, Y, Z for fiction writers. And that’s right here.
Hey! I'm Rachel and I'm so glad you're here today!
I help Christian fiction writers figure out how they can make an impact and an income from their storytelling while keeping rest a priority.
You can learn more about how I’m in your corner here.
And you can learn more about my personal journey here.
One last thing, if you’re looking for a bit more rest in your life, be sure to check out the Rest & Reflect guided journal.