It has been said that when you write a book/article/short story (in other words, anything) that you should keep your audience in mind. You are asking the question, “Who the heck is going to read this anyway?”
Let’s break it down with some more questions. Why would someone want to read your book? What is it about your book that would make someone want to spend their hard earned money to buy it? Why would someone decide to purchase your book instead of another book by an established author?”
You must establish VALUE. How will a reader benefit from reading your book? There is perceived or real VALUE in all buying decisions.
One of my favorite grocery stores is Aldi. I find VALUE there because of the low prices, quality products, and convenient size (not a super store). New shipments arrive every Wednesday, and that’s when I shop.
Supporting VALUE are several underlying factors:
- FAMILIARITY- Been shopping at Aldi long enough to know where to find what I need.
- TRUST- Almost always have what I’m looking for.
- PLEASANT SURPRISES- In this case, the bonus is that beyond Aldi’s consistent fare there is always something new. (Bought an induction cooktop this week for under $30. What?)
- POSITIVE EXPERIENCE- Don’t get me started on bad service. It’s an epidemic. That brings me to my second favorite grocery store, Publix. Their service is amazing. Heck, I go there when I’m lonely and nobody else will talk to me. They act like they care about me even if they don’t.
- FULFILLS A NEED (perceived or real)- Got to eat.
Now let’s take those 5 supporting elements of VALUE and apply them to writing.
- FAMILIARITY- Takes time and consistency. You are not a fly-by-night author but here to stay. Once you have been discovered your readers keep coming back for more.
- TRUST- Your work is always good. Turning out your best work every time is a challenge but you are determined not to take shortcuts. If you are writing a series of books, Book 5 has the same forethought and effort as Book 1.
- PLEASANT SURPRISES- With each work comes something new and fresh for your reader to discover.
- POSITIVE EXPERIENCE- Your reader is glad that he or she invested time and money in reading your book to the point that they are ready and willing to RECOMMEND.
- FULFILLS A NEED- Educate, inspire, motivate, heal, encourage, or make them feel something that moves them.
Now, answer this question: Who is most likely to find VALUE in your writing? Therein lies your target audience.
For example: The people most likely to find VALUE in my writing are those who prefer: (these are examples- supply your own)
- inspirational stories
- stories about overcoming seemingly impossible challenges
- stories with a positive message
- wholesome writing style (ixnay on the filthy language, smut, and gore)
- historical fiction
The more thorough you are in defining your work the better job you will do at defining your audience. It’s as much about what you don’t write as…what you do write.
One last thought on VALUE. What is valuable to me may not be valuable to you. If that’s the case…then you are not my audience and I’m not yours. Let’s just be friends.