Writing for your Target Audience
Writing is not easy. It’s a long, messy process that includes drafting, deleting, drafting again, reorganizing, rewording, and then sometimes trashing the whole thing and starting the process all over again.
Take, for example, this post.
Besides the usual excuses for procrastinating (“Oh, I’m just so busy” or “I’m putting together a plan in my head”), there’s also the act of sitting down and typing it all out. Like many writers, I’ve probably deleted way more copy than I’ve kept because what I thought was planned in my head (see “usual excuses” above) turned out to be less of a plan and more of … well … a bowl of random thoughts that somehow touched on the same topic but made no sense when put all together.
I have now started and restarted multiple times. I’ve changed my approach, typed and deleted, reorganized paragraphs, typed and deleted some more, and overall considered simply giving up.
And really, this post will maybe have a 600-word count. Now imagine an author trying to create a 75,000-plus word novel.
Of course, there’s planning and story mapping and character development and all the things the writers’ workshops and English teachers out there tell you are important (They are important. Very important. Listen to your teachers).
But before any of that can happen, an author needs to know their target audience.
Who is your target audience?
It’s one of the first questions I ask during initial consultations.
As an author, if you understand your target audience, your voice will be stronger, and your story will be more cohesive. To me, a reader knows they are the targeted audience when they really connect with the story in some way, shape, or form.
As an avid reader myself, one author I feel really knows how to connect to her target audience is Abby Jimenez. She quickly became one of my favorite authors after I read her debut novel, The Friend Zone.
In under 400 printed pages, Jimenez was able to pull me into the word she created.
I connected with characters, connected with scenarios, and fell in love with the dog, too. It was clear that I was part of her targeted audience, and I’ve since gone on to read everything else she’s written. Her books are perfect beach reads -- romantic with a slice of reality, comedic and heartwarming, and not afraid to tackle real-life issues while also blending in a little bit of “that could never happen.” Every time I finish an Abby Jimenez book, I want to be her friend and go out for a glass of wine so we can chat like we’ve been girlfriends for years.
As an editor, it’s important for me to understand who my author’s targeted audience is so I can approach the project from the proper mindset. I can’t edit a romantic beach read from the perspective of an engineer who only reads sci-fi and hates when numbers, ranks, or scientific terms and situations are not possible (see: my husband’s reading preferences). I have to approach the edit with the audience in mind to both keep the story on track and cohesive and to maintain the author’s voice and vision.
Readers know what they want to read. They may not always be able to judge a book by its cover, but they’ll always feel seen when they realize they are the target audience.
Check out Abby Jimenez's works at https://www.authorabbyjimenez.com/