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Do You Know Who Your Target Audience Is?

Do you know who your readers are? It is so easy to get into a habit of writing what YOU want or to impress an editor but that may not attract the readers you want.

No doubt you have heard the phrase “target audience” more times than you care to think about. So you did what you were supposed to do – stated age, gender, location, income bracket, and so on. You pictured them picking your book up in a store and loving it so much they wanted a sequel like, right now! You wrote almost a novel on why your book would suit them better than any other.

The question is, have you met any of them? How do you know that your book is the one they will pick up? Do you even know if they exist? More to the point perhaps, do they know that you exist?

One of the biggest mistakes made by rookie writers is to define a target audience before they have any readers.

You know what you want to write; you do your target audience exercise which really only defines a hypothetical audience. The trouble is, books don’t sell to hypothetical readers.

You really are in a Catch-22 situation because you need to figure your audience out before you build it up because, in order to build an audience, you need to know who they are!

How do you get out of this?

One simple way is this – as you start to define your audience, try to think of five people you know who could be in that audience.

If you are targeting an audience primarily made up of women, mid to late-40s, average income, who love to read romance novels, you need to think of five women you know who fit the bill. When you have a list of names (if you can get that many) think about when you last saw them with a romance novel. Do you know why they chose it? Can you picture their reaction to a slightly racy scene you included? Would they understand your book and want to buy it if you could describe it to them?

First, if real people don’t come to mind, it could be that your hypothetical target simply doesn’t exist, Not easy but best find it out now before you put the really hard work in.

Second, forcing yourself to imagine real people that you know reading your work, and asking how they might react, you can't make your answers fit what you want to write. If your best friend Mary loves reading romance but gets embarrassed at the racy scenes, you’ll have a hard job convincing yourself she’ll enjoy the book.

Last, when you have to come up with real names you have a real opportunity to run your ideas past those people. You might think that Mary will turn away from your book because of the raciness but why not ask her? You might just be completely wrong!

Market research is a great way of building an audience too; use social media to ask your friends, family, and followers what they think of your ideas.

So, once again, do you know who your target audience is?

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anne-Marie Reynolds