Let the YouGov profiler do your market research for you
If you’ve been on Twitter at any point since the weekend, chances are that you’ve come across the YouGov profiler, a jolly little plaything/terrifying cross-section of all the privacies we wilfully surrender that allows users to input the name of ‘any brand, person or thing’ then presents them with a picture of a typical fan of said brand, person or thing courtesy of the titular market research firm. It’s by no means exhaustive (apparently there weren’t enough fans of Yo La Tengo to constitute an appropriate sample size, which is of course just how Yo La Tengo fans like it) but it’s certainly an enjoyable way to pass a few minutes
confirming your existing prejudices engaging in some low-level market research. With the profiler’s help, then, BookMachine proudly (?) presents a guide to the demographics you need to pitch to if you want to make it big in publishing [puts feet up on desk, taps out cigar ash].
Fifty Shades of Grey: Right, so you have a red hot piece of erotic fiction to sell. Who’s going to want to read it? Right wing women aged 25-39 who live in East Anglia and work in travel and hospitality, that’s who. Darts is both their favourite sport and their top niche interest, so maybe print up some novelty dart boards in the shape of boobs or something with your book’s name printed around the nipple/bullseye. They say the internet is their main source of information but also that they rely on TV to keep them informed, so see if you can finally talk iPlayer into allowing advertising.
Amazon: Okay, maybe you don’t have a book to flog, but you think you have what it takes to bring down Amazon and become Indestructible Bookseller Number One. Well, you’ll need the goodwill of middle class women, most likely doctors aged 40-59, who live in the West Country, are slightly less right wing than Fifty Shades of Grey fans, hold such controversial opinions as ‘online shopping makes my life easier’ and have general interests including ‘websites’. Despite their seeming devotion to the World Wide Web, however, they are still most likely to use Internet Explorer, so take any such claims with a pinch of salt and maybe draw up contingency plans for a real-world branch.
Richard Flanagan: The hell with commercial success – you’re after the prestige only a Booker winner can bring. Well, you might want to write a book in which a 60-something man potters about his garden on the south coast in between managing his finances and eating well, because that’s who’s reading Richard Flanagan, when he’s not taking an interest in arts charities or driving his Alfa Romeo. If this all sounds a bit too hoity-toity, then maybe casually drop in the fact that his most watched TV channel is E4 for some reason, that he enjoys a bit of William Hill Bingo or that he makes frequent trips to Lidl, in between listening to the music of Jason Orange (solo) and watching The Fault in our Stars.
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.