Friday, May 21, 2021

Writing: Choose Your Audience

When an author is pitching a work of theirs, one of the questions they are asked is, "What is the audience for your book?" No fair saying that it will appeal to all ages and both sexes--you really should figure out your audience and aim it at them.  Some writers go so far as to aim their writing at a particular person, feeling that "if he/she likes it, I'll be okay." If it helps to have a mythical reader in Dubuque, Iowa, go for it. But your book should be aimed at some segment. There is no such thing as a universal specific, either in writing or in medicine. If there were, we'd all be using it.

After that, my suggestion is to look back when you've reached an area in the book where its message is clear (and if it hasn't become clear by that point, why not?) and see if you need to fine-tune your work. Then do the same after you've finished the book and see if you've accomplished what you set out to say.

In summary, when writing a book, decide what audience you're setting out to reach, then decide what the message of the book is to be, and finally, see if the finished product meets your goals. Sounds simple, but it's not. 

Think back to the last book you've read. Did the author accomplish their goal? If not, where did they fall short? It will help you be a better writer and reader in future. 


Patricia Bradley said...

Aww, Richard...I like the "all ages and both sexes" answer! Did you know 70-80% of all fiction is bought by women? My target is women aged 35 and up although I do have a few male readers, mostly I believe because I don't have a lot of romance in my romantic suspense... ;-)

Priscilla Bettis said...

Richard, did you steal my reader in Dubuque?:-) I have aimed stories at particular audiences, well educated women for a literary women's magazine, for example, or redneck men for a shoot-'em-up vampire story. I haven't sold any longer pieces (yet!), but I will keep my audience and message in mind.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, if you can get away with the answer, "everybody," power to you--I've never been able to. And when I was asked by an editor, I quoted 60% mystery, 40% romance. (Never tried to make it come out that way, but it always does).

And Priscilla, I didn't steal your little old lady from Dubuque--although we can both write for her, I'd imagine. But, if so, we're hitting the target.