Writers: Identify your Target Audience

Writers are busy creatures, apart from writing and editing, we’re continuously developing our brand and building our platform. We’re constantly striving to reach out and connect with our audience. But have you ever stopped to consider who they are? Unfortunately, your story will not appeal to everyone, so ask yourself – who is going to read your book?

We shouldn’t waste precious time on social media, slogging away at the wrong audience. We want to target the readers who will find our story irresistible, those who will take delight in snatching it off the shelf to devour the secrets within. It’s time to stop the busy work and work smart.

So how do we find them? With a little bit of reseach, that should be easy right?? Queue – internal groan!! But there’s no need to worry, relax, we’re writers, and we’ve got this.

First of all, we need to take a closer look at the readers preferences: what do they like to see in the stories they read. And then do a little more research into the reader demographic: those who enjoy, relate to, and connect with the story.

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Genre and sub-genre- Readers tend to gravitate to towards a preferred genre. My favourite genre is Fantasy, and within that my sub-genres I love epic/high fantasy, fantasy- romance, and paranormal romance. But I tend to avoid Romance Fiction, or plot driven Fantasy about war.

Plot vs Character- Some readers want a slow-paced story, driven by mysterious events. Others want to enjoy the journey of the characters, taking pleasure from their deep development. My novels are character based, with a fast-paced plot full of adventure and tension.

Period settings and worldbuilding– Some readers might be drawn to a specific time period, a particular setting, whilst others are drawn to the escapism of a whole new world.

Art, pink, birds

Writing style– Perhaps your reader desires the luscious, poetic prose of literary fiction. Or the easy flow of commercial writing with its straight-forward style.

Age- Fiction is divided into different categories; Middle Grade, Young Adult, New Adult, and Adult. It’s important to determine who your writing for because your character’s age, and their experiences should be relatable to the age group your writing for. Also this will have an impact on the size of your novel, as the industry tends to expect novels to stay within a certain range. For example, YA novels are usually between 60,000 – 80,000 words.

Gender- This won’t necessarily have a huge impact on your audience, after all, everyone has individual taste that isn’t gender dependant. However, it’s worthwhile noting that some genres tend to have a larger demographic following. Romance maybe appeal to a wider female audience, whereas gritty war stories may be preferred by a male audience. It goes without saying, of course both of these types of stories can be enjoyed by any gender.

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And we can go further, refining our target audience with themes such as, culture and race, sexual preferences, disability, mental health, religion, and personal traumatic experiences. Do any of these themes play an important role in your novel? Perhaps they’ll tap into a specific audience who will emotionally connect with the heart of your story.

Once you’ve built up a picture of who your audience is, ask yourself these questions. What do you like to read? What do you like to write? Who are you writing for? What writers are similar to work? Where would your novel sit in a bookshop or library?

You may not be able to identify your target audience right away, it might become more apparent once your story develops. When I first started writing I thought my target audience was Young Adult, but after a few meetings with editors and agents I realised my novel was more suited to the Adult genre. So don’t stress if you get it wrong, it’s all experience.

Author Lorraine Ambers - fantasy romance writer

What challenges do you encounter when trying to identify your audience? Please share your experiences, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.

27 thoughts on “Writers: Identify your Target Audience

    1. Of course it’s ok, and stories should pay attention to both plot and characters.
      I think genres sometimes dictates which one is more prominent; family saga will focus on the complexity of characters, whereas mysteries will usually have fascinating plot.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Funny, me. But I often find I can’t find novels that write in the same tone as I wish. So I settle for whatever I can get. As long as the theme remains philosophical.
    “commercial writing with its straight-forward style.”

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Also loved the word count guideline. I’ve blown my current draft out to 80,000 words (was aiming for 75,000 😅) and I still have 12 chapters to rewrite. Knowing YA should aim for a max of 80,000 is a good reminder that I need to reign in back in on the next edit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. There are YA novels out there that exceed that limit, but after speaking with a publishing house, they advised keeping within the word count for costing reasons.
        I’d speak with your editor about it, get their opinion. Xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb advice, Lorraine! Thank you so much for sharing these – definitely worth keeping in mind when developing a story. My target audience has definitely evolved from simply ‘Young Adult’ to victims of bullying, so I’m glad I’ve got a much clearer picture of whom I’m writing for. Best of luck with your writing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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