Hello and welcome from a chilly London! I trust your writing is going well!
Now, you will have to bear with me on this blog post as I have not had the pleasure of being published by the mainstream yet!
Anyway, I am at the re-write stage of a novel I wrote some time ago. You know that one, you think it’s got something and all it needs it a little tweak here and there! Famous last words…
I was thinking this – who is going to read my book, what type of person is going to spend money and enjoy my novel? After some time turning this over in my mind I realised that my novel would find no success unless I was able to clearly define my audience. Don’t think this is not important because it is crucially important when it comes marketing your work. Don’t forget, you could pen the most beautiful accomplished novel but without the correct audience to buy it by the bucket-load, you are kind of wasting your time!
I remember some time ago preparing for the submission of a novel to a literary agency and a part of the procedure was to tell them about my target audience! My book was rejected for that and many other reasons, I’m sure!
The New Writer
The thing is if you are a new writer how on earth are you going to determine at this point who you are writing for?
Well, to be frank I found this difficult, but this is what I found out. You have got to be objective. See if your work-in-progress is like anything else out there currently. Aside from the obvious categorisation by genre such as horror, crime, thriller, romance, who else has written something similar? Then you need to look at the typical age group and gender for that author. For example, it is safe to say Nicholas Sparks* and Danielle Steel* are romance writers and it is equally as safe to conclude that the majority of their readers are going to be female and probably quite young, twenties or thirties maybe?! So if you are writing something similar then this is your target audience.
To further deepen your research go onto Amazon’s website and see how they group their genre fiction. They often recommend similar books based on your recent purchase. Can you see your book in that category? Then, the typical reader for that book will become your target audience also.
I think the key to defining your target audience is to define your genre from the beginning. That should be easy enough to do but extremely important. If you find that your book can fit into several genres, then you will probably have a hard time pitching it to your agent or publisher. So pick one and stick to it, at least until you are an established author!
Also, and it is kind of obvious really, if you can picture your target audience, then you can tweak your writing accordingly. Your readers need to be able to relate in some way to what they are reading. So as the writer you need to make your creative work as appealing to them as possible! So for example, if you are writing in the romance genre, top tip: make your leading character female and young. Something tells me you will be off to a great start, as the vast majority of readers/book buyers out there are female…
Would love your views on this topic particularly if you are submitting a novel for the first time.
Until next time
Happy writing, S
* Nicholas Sparks and *Danielle Steel have been successful for many years! So they will have fans who will be lot older than just mentioned!