I’ve been reading through The Writer’s Workout, by Christina Katz, and lately a lot of the advice that’s come up has to do with writing to your audience and understanding your audience and directing marketing to your audience. It all starts with defining your audience, though. So I started wondering about mine. (I’ve figured out it’s probably not cute little finches, but other than that still kind of vague with the details.)
Different kinds of writing have different kinds of audience. Anyone who claims their book is for all ages and all demographics probably needs someone to take needles to that big balloon of an ego they’ve got before someone gets hurt. Every book has something about it that someone either won’t be interested or just plain won’t like. Accepting that is the first step.
The second step is to identify that audience as precisely as possible. Not that there can’t be people to read a book outside of that audience, but having a target reader in mind is going to help make the book more appealing to those people most likely to read it in the first place. It helps with marketing campaigns, and identifying where that money should go to get the most possible readers added.
I’ve always found it tricky to figure out my audience, but I’ve got a couple techniques that help narrow it down.
A) Look at the age and gender of the protagonist. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but it can indicate the people who would connect the best with the main character’s struggles.
B) Look at the themes being addressed. Coming of age stories usually mean YA, I know that one… and it seems I need to brush up on this particular principle because I cannot remember any others right now. But looking at themes is a good idea because people who can relate to the struggles related to those themes will probably like the book.
This blog is probably not going to attract my core audience for the book I am presently working on querying. (Query letters take forever to write!) It’s a YA fantasy fairy tale retelling. This blog is aimed at writers going through the struggle just like me, looking to connect. Honestly, it’s better to have a blog/website/online presence that matches your book so you can direct one to the other. But it’s not a dream killer not to. Just something to keep in mind that once I publish this book I won’t necessarily expect a lot of people to go straight from my blog to buy it, because it’s probably not what they’re here for. And that’s okay. It’s just a different kind of effort.
So I’m going to try to get my audience for my book as narrow as possible, and figure out my audience for this blog more exactly so I can start pushing in those directions. Because who has time to market something to the wrong audience?