I have a few books that are my favorite to read with children in bibliotherapy (a form of counseling that uses books). One is called Are You My Mother, by PD Eastman. I’ve probably read this book a hundred times over the last seven years.
Reading children’s books is a nonthreatening way to teach kids about their feelings–identifying, validating, and expressing them. In particular, this book deals with a lost baby bird (symbolizing a child) who’s looking for his/her mother.
The baby bird is young, naive, and clueless, asking any and all animals she meets if they are her mother? The illustrations show her range of emotions in each stage of her journey, eventually finding her mother, and thereby knowing her own identity as a bird who is loved and who belongs.
Ever since my parenting book was published in September of 2016, honestly, I can’t help but feel like the baby bird. I am a brand new author who’s barely learning all the steps to self-publishing a book, and then I find myself smack in the middle of being a new business owner–whose product, my book, is entirely up to me to market.
So, I’ve been wandering around a new stage of life among friends, extended family, and even strangers online and in person with a big question on my forehead: Are you my target audience? Thankfully, I have a faithful Best Friend, loving husband, and supportive children to walk this new adventure with me, so it is not as scary and grueling as it sounds.
Yet, admittedly, my book is all over the place, from a memoir to a self-help, from dealing with parenting to individual self fulfillment, from honoring eastern religions and cultures to western ideologies and Christian faith, from being personal to provocative–I still don’t know who my target audience is. The problem is that I don’t want to leave anyone out. But, I was told that your target audience has to be very specific and small in order to gain traction. Since no one knows me, I need to be precise with utilizing my limited resources to be recognized in a small niche. But which niche?
Is it middle class American parents (too big) or mental health clinicians (too small)? My first few editors said it would include a wide range of audience including Asian Americans, early childhood educators and caregivers, and those in the field of psychology and social work. I can pretty much rule out that it’s not the Fresh off the Boat Asians as the book has not been translated to any other languages. One friend suggested three target audiences: immigrant American parents and young people who see themselves as “the bridge children,” Christian Americans, and educators of immigrant children. What about intellectuals who concern themselves with psychology, religious studies, and philosophy?
Judging from the diversity among my Amazon book reviewers so far, this book may be relatable and useful, even encouraging to a wide range of people.
Are you my target audience? I’m looking for her. I want to be accepted, to belong somewhere in this big, small world.