Know Your Audience

W. Alexander studies creative writing at Liberty University, Lynchburg VA.

You write to be read. And to be read, you have to write for a specific audience. You must be ready to tell a publisher the type of person you believe your ideal reader is. No agent/publisher will take you seriously if you say, ‘I am writing this for everyone.’ Trust me, say that, and they will not turn one page of your manuscript. Make sure you have a specific target audience in mind. Although, it is not your job to sell your book; it is your job to write a book that will sell. If publishing is the goal. Sometimes it is not. In that case, this post is not for you. The topic of your audience will be part of the first conversation you have with an agent/publisher. Get yourself ready for it.

Paris, France 2018.

How does a writer determine their audience?

Well, for one thing, start with genre. Are you writing science fiction? If so, that genre’s interests varies exponentially. Are you targeting young adults, boomers, or someone in between? Does gender play a part? Etcetera. Basically, where do you imagine seeing this book stored on a retailer’s bookshelf? I know, I know; at the front door. But again, the agent/publishers in your future want a practical answer. Think about this a great deal, before throwing too much time into wrestling syntax. This does not mean you have to handcuff yourself. Write whatever you want. But know whom it is, you think, that would read your novel.

I know this is a short post, and I am sorry about that. The last couple weeks in my Inspirational Writing class, led by Karen Kingsbury, we have focused on who our audiences are. She and my adjunct professor are doing everything they can to drive the point home. As always, I share what I learn with you. Classes are going well. I am still holding onto my 4.0. Which is no small feat for a guy who returned to school at thirty (humble brag). Again, I wish this week’s post was longer and more in depth, but it has been crazy busy.

Please let me know what you think. Share your ideas with me. And if you have not already, please subscribe to my blog. Thanks.

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W. Alexander Dunford  I will never forget the television’s blue light that night fifteen years ago. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Blood Diamond played. Outside, beneath black skies, rain pelted our windows and the house’s bones braced against high winds. Thunder shook the walls.  It was Father’s idea to watch the movie. He loved violence, and I loved…

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“…in that moment my fear retreated. I discovered I hated him and his kind. I hated his affluence, his expensive clothes, his chiseled looks, and the arrogance he was born to. But most of all, I hated the power he held over me, his assumption of authority, and the truth of his superiority.”

9 responses to “Know Your Audience”

  1. Well, my 1st book is a middle grade fantasy- 8-12 is the age range. Sparkle, my main character, is 12. My youngest character, Tweetsie, is only 5- she is only a minor character- if I were to write a book about one of my minor character, I would go for her

    However, despite being a young adult myself, I still can find myself reading middle grade books.

    1. Good books are good books. I from time-to-time read younger books too.
      You seem to really know your audience. Thank you for the comment.

      1. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres, and will continue to be one

      2. Fantasy is one of my favorites too. You have great taste.

      3. What is really amazing is that I love the old classics- you don’t expect many people to love those books

      4. I know what you mean. But I love the classics. You should check out my goodreads (link in blog). My favorite neoclassical poem, The Rape of the Locke. My favorite classical piece of literature, Notre-Dame de Paris. I just finished, The Pilgrim’s Progress today.

        I can talk classic literature all day. We should be friends lol!
        I like reading theatre too. One of my next reads is Edward II, by Christopher Marlowe.

        Sorry…I geeked out a bit lol

      5. As far as favorite classics go:

        1. Little Women
        2. Secret Garden
        3. Tom Sawyer
        4. Iliad
        5. Odyssey
        6. Bleak House
        7. Nicholas Nickleby
        8. A Christmas Carol
        9. Great Expectations
        10. Tale of Two Cities
        11. David Copperfield
        12. Oliver Twist
        13. Don Quixote
        14. Hunchback of Notre Dame
        15. Les Misérables

        Just what I could think of for now

      6. Yes! Yes! Yes! Great list. I love all those, except numbers 3 and 10.

      7. When it comes to Charles Dickens, I haven’t disliked a single book of this his. I actually did help actually growing up on “A Christmas Carol” by the George C. Scott movie.

        Entering 11th grade, for required reading, we had to choose from a list of books- I went with Huckleberry Finn. Summer reading was always one required and one to choose from a list of books.

        Well, when it comes to Les Misérables- there is a lot I can say. I am obsessed with that musical- the musical responsible for my love of musicals today

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