An Editor’s Comments on Audience

This is part 5 of my series on “An Editor’s Comments.” These are actual comments I’ve made to clients, and are directed to their particular needs, so they are sometimes quite different than what you’ll find in a style manual or other editing book. I hope you’ll find these thoughts helpful! If you want to learn more, check out the rest of the articles in the “Editor’s Comments” section and the “Various Editor’s Tips” section in my “Writing and Editing Articles” table of contents.

Match Your Story to a Particular Target Audience

It really is a good idea, when you set out to write anything, to think about what audience you want to reach. Then you can focus on what you think that “target audience” is really looking for, what they really enjoy, and you can focus on making the story especially appealing to them.  Later, if you write further books, you will have a built-in group of buyers/readers. (But if your target audience is too narrow, you miss out on a potentially larger group, so it’s a balancing act).

So To Whom Should I Target my Story?

Ideally, you should be thinking clearly about your “target audience” before you write your book. But even if you’ve already done a draft or two, you can still think about it, and make any necessary revisions. Consider your audience’s age, gender, personal interests, cultural background, education level, beliefs, and whatever other factors you think would be especially relevant to your book.

What Does Target Audience Have to Do With Marketing?

Once you’ve decided on a target audience, and written your book with those readers in mind, you’ll want to decide how to target your marketing to that group. One writer I know targets her marketing of her short story books to seniors, and especially to women. Instead of just doing “readings and signings” in general big-box bookstores, or even general-topic indie bookstores (though she has done the latter once or twice), she takes her books to women’s book clubs, other women’s groups such as church women’s groups or women’s hobby groups, seniors’ centres and residential care facilities, writing groups comprised mainly of seniors, and so on.

Another author I know takes her children’s books to school classrooms, Christmas art and craft shows where people are looking for gift ideas for children, service clubs that like to help out with literacy or children’s needs, and festivals that focus on children. She also donates copies to school libraries and gives discounts to groups like “Books for Babies.”

In these ways, writers are able to use their marketing time, effort, and dollars to best advantage by knowing who their target audience is.

Plan Ahead

In your future writing, always think about your target audience before and as you write. This way you can write for people who will really enjoy the book and want to buy it, will tell others about it, and will become loyal readers who buy future books also written by you. Thinking about your target audience is important!

Want more information on audience? Check out these posts:

Changes in Audiences and Their Reading Habits
Target Audience Advice


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