Who is Your Audience?


Writing is a complex, but passionate project. As the author, you know every minute detail of your masterpiece. To you – your bestseller is a work anyone would enjoy. After all, the nuances you have artfully crafted into each page contains an entire world of emotions, civilization, and context. It might seem reasonable to declare it a book for everyone and attack the reading market across the board. However, the reality is your book is most likely to be read by a specific group (or two) of people. By gearing your book and its subsequent promotions, towards a particular audience, you set yourself for better success. To do this, you must first identify who that audience is.

Isolate the Reader
Scary sounding word when you are looking to expand, I know. Here though, it helps you zone in on your targets. To do this, focus on the main pieces that make up your book: genre, characters, location, and plot. For example, if your book is about an 1837 Texas Ranger who relies on the help of an Apache woman who can commune with nature to find a roving gang of violent and murderous bank robbers, you set yourself up for a few different target reader groups. Those who enjoy westerns, historical fiction, action, fantasy/paranormal, and suspense would likely find your book interesting. As a tale about a Ranger, you may even entice military and law-enforcement fans. If your Ranger happens to fall in love with your Apache, you can even throw in romance readers. However, be scrupulous in your genre-evaluation. If you find yourself delving more into the romance side of the house than the Wild West lifestyle of a lone Texas Ranger – write with them in mind. (I.e. Your romance readers do not want to hear about how Deadly Danny’s head exploded like a watermelon, shoot brain matter and skull fragments across the saloon’s windows when Ranger McMillan finally ended his reign of terror in an epic shootout. Likewise, your action fans probably are not going to want to read about Ranger McMillan’s chiseled abs and full lips.)

Identify the Competition
As with many things, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That is to say, look at what other books in your field are doing and whom they are attracting. By identifying who reads published books that market to the same target audience, you can get a feel of how to market to them and what specific things readers are raving (or ranting) about. This also helps you to note who your competition will be.

What Makes Your Book Special?
Once you identify your audience and the competition, you need to evaluate what makes your particular bestseller oh-so-special. That is, what makes your book stand out? When you explain your book to someone, what is the bait on the end of your hook? If the Apache woman communes with the nature spirits though ceremonies and Indian-tradition, you may attract readers who are interested in Native American practices. If the apex of her worship allows her to turn into a golden eagle and soar above the plains to help locate the villains, you are more likely to attract nature lovers, animal lovers, and those interested in the paranormal.

Demographics affect how you write. Keeping your target audience in mind helps you hone in on the descriptive words, actions and dialogue that makes up your story. A story about a Texas Ranger who engages in a bloody shootout or graphic romance scenes is not going to appeal to (or be appropriate for) a middle school audience. Likewise, if you are writing a book for children, you will not want Billy Bulldozer dropping the f-bomb when his wheel falls off.

Guiding Your Writing
Knowing your audience helps guide your writing and marketing strategy. Your book may find its way into the hands of individuals who may not typically fall into your intended audience and that is great. However, keeping your target audience in mind while writing your book can help ensure you set your book up for success.

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