Friday, June 16, 2017

Are You Missing the Target?

Do you know what your target readers want? Is it laughter or tears, mystery or intrigue, history or current events, entertainment or enlightenment, education or escape? No matter in what genre you write, you should know what your target readers are interested in finding in your book, novella, short story, article, poem, or non-fiction work--and then give it to them.

I think it's safe to say that most readers are, at the very least, looking for an escape of some sort from the everyday events that gobble up their time. There will always be something else to do, some other chore or email or text or phone call, not to mention television show, movie, social media, magazine, or ... gasp!... another book to keep them away from your work. And that's why we target them specifically.

Short of polling them individually over the phone ("Hello, I'm the author of a book you're going to pick up someday, and I want to know what I can do to make you finish it, love it, and recommend it to your friends. This call may be monitored for quality control or training purposes."), we have to get inside our future readers' minds and figure out what will make them choose your book over a zillion other things they could be doing. If you write mystery, make sure it's as mysterious (duh), cunning, full of twists, and heart-stopping as you can. If you write romance (keep it clean, folks--that's just my personal preference), make the hearts of your women readers pitter-patter dangerously fast, and the hearts of your men readers swell with the hope they have that effect on their wives and girlfriends. Speak to them. Get inside their brains. Figure out what they want and give it to them.


Here I am after I found out one of my
readers was having a fling with another
author. Wait, that's not me. That's an angry-
looking shark. Well, at least that part's right. 
If you write in the inspirational genre, give them something new and different to be inspired by. Look at things a bit differently and slant your work in such a way that your readers haven't read it a hundred other times. Believe me, as much as we don't want to think about this, our readers have read other books by other authors in the same genre. Yes, I know it hurts to think they would cheat on us like that, but hey, they're readers. They can do that. They have no binding contract that says they will read only our work; no oath that promises they'll be faithful forever and ever. Amen. They should, but they don't. Sigh.

A long time ago, I decided my target readers wanted to laugh, and that's what I hope I give them. Good, long belly laughs, snickers, smiles, guffaws. Of course, I have to combine those laughs with mystery or else I'd be writing a joke book, and I promise you that wouldn't be a good thing. But if I decided to write in a different genre, I'd have to change my target audience to those readers who wanted mystery/romance/paranormal/inspiration/whatever. Readers can't be lumped into one huge pool of potential lovers of your work. We have to take the time to figure out what we're writing and just who's looking for what we write. Then we write it and make sure those you're targeting know about your work. That's another topic for another time.


Then we corner them whenever possible to sign that "I swear I'll never read another author in your genre again" contract. Believe me, it's not as easy as it sounds.
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2 comments:

  1. It's so good to always keep our readers in mind, yes. Good!

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  2. Thanks, Lisa:-) Sometimes I have to remind myself I'm not writing for ME, but rather for those people I hope will become avid readers of my work.

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