By Janet Spencer King

Authors Know Your AudienceFor those of you writing a book, here’s a question you really need to ask yourself. Who is your audience, the people you believe will be most interested in reading your book? It’s crucial for you to know the answer to this, and, no, it isn’t “everyone.” Even the Bible doesn’t have an audience of everyone.

I bring this up because it matters … a lot.

Here’s why.

The age, experience, interests and education of your audience will have a direct impact on what and how you write. Let’s say you’re writing a young adult novel. Of course you’ve created a YA-friendly plot, but there are many other factors that will attract your YA audience, or, conversely, turn it off. Are your characters and the situations they face compatible with the ones young readers will strongly identify with? Are you using language that teens can relate to? Are your references, metaphors and the like ones that will click for them?

Mysteries are a wide genre with many sub-genres. For example, a detective mystery fan will want to have more procedural details about how the hero solved the crime; a serial killer mystery will need harsher descriptions, violence, and hard-edged words. But a cozy mystery will call for gentler characters and descriptions plus a bit of humor thrown in.

For nonfiction writers, knowing a lot about your primary audience will determine not only your content, but also the terms and references you’ll be using, some of which may have no meaning to a general audience. It will also help you decide how detailed you writing must be.

Fiction and non-fiction writers alike will benefit from reading successful authors in their genre. Take note of how they handle their genre writing to appeal to its audience.

Marketing Your Book

The marketing platform for your book absolutely rests on your target audience. Website design and content should reflect what appeals to them including colors, graphics and more; social media will focus on where your audience members hang out—you’ll need to create a strong presence, where they will find you.

The Search

To find your audience, start by envisioning someone who would clearly be interested in your work, whether fiction or non-fiction. This might be someone who actually exists, but it could also be an image you create for yourself of the perfect/ideal reader of your book.

Keep this person in mind and make up the details about his/her life. Age, gender, urban or otherwise, likes/dislikes, type of job, off-hours entertainment, etc. The more you know about the ideal reader and can extrapolate it to your audience overall, the more in tune you’ll be as the author, and marketer.

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