Alexander R Davis
Targeting An Audience
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
So you want to write a book, part 4
What do you think would happen if you offered a vegetarian a large slab of meat? Likely they wouldn’t appreciate the gesture and would refuse either politely or angrily. In either case, what you offered would not be received. It is similar with writing. We do not want to make this same mistake the people we offer our work. You must know who you are writing for. Only when you know who you are writing for, can you then reach those who are going to accept what you have to offer. Finding you target audience and what to do with that knowledge, is the purpose of this article.
Finding your target audience
Before we look at what you can do with your audience you need to find it. Here are some ideas to do just that:
1. If you haven’t found your why, go back and do that first. (The first article in this series talks about finding your why). Once you know why you are writing, that may right off the bat answer who your audience is. For example, if your reason for writing is to teach people to overcome physical abuse, then you have your audience; people who have been physically abused. So, first and foremost, find your why.
2. Once you have written your first chapter, give it to people that read in your genre and ask them who they think your target audience would be.
3. Write an elevator pitch, (A couple powerful sentences that describe your book and what it’s about) and share it with different types of people. You can share it with people of different ages and different interests and see what kind of people resonate with your pitch.
4. Look up other books that are similar to yours and see what kind of people are purchasing those.
5. Find a writers group and explain your book to them. Writers groups are a great resource that can help you identify not just your audience but much more.
6. Go to the library or a bookstore and talk to some of the workers about your book and what kind of people they think would be interested in it.
Once you know your audience
Knowing your audience is going to do a couple powerful things for you. For one, it will help you write in their language. You wouldn’t write at a college level for 1st grade readers. A second thing this will do for you, is allow you to know more of what will be interesting to your audience and incorporate that into the story. A fantasy buff isn’t as likely to appreciate futuristic ships as they are a dragon. This may go without saying, but when you have these two things working for you, then you will undoubtedly be more successful.
This is very important. You must write in a language that your audience will understand and enjoy. Just because it sounds good to you, doesn’t mean it will sound good to them. When thinking about the language in your book, you should do some research. Don’t simply assume you have it right. To actually spend some time with the audience you want to write for, will be invaluable. See how they speak and what they understand. It would even be a good idea to have some people from your target audience get their eyes on your work and see what they think. Remember, you aren’t writing this book for you, unless you don’t plan to publish. You are writing for others, so make sure they understand what you ware writing.
What interests your audience
Once you know your audience, you will have access to their interests. Go out and do some interviewing. Ask the people you are writing for, what they really enjoy in a book. What is it that keeps them turning the pages in one book and dropping another book with a yawn? One good way to do this, is to build a questionnaire or a fill in the blank. You can then distribute this among people in your target audience. With their feedback, you will be leaps and bounds ahead of where you would be trying to figure it out on your own. You can then incorporate some, or all of the ideas they gave you, into your book. Not only will this book be far better, but when people start seeing that you are using their suggestions, you are going to create a lot of raving fans. Those are exactly the kind of fans that you want.
Find your audience and use that knowledge to your advantage. There is no reason, you can’t be dripping with success, which includes the monetary side of things as well. You deserve nothing less than the very best, so give yourself just that!
Alexander R Davis