Knowing Your Audience

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How well do you know the target audience for your book(s)? I’m of course not meaning how well do you know individual readers of your work, I’m talking about the demographic that reads books similar to yours over and over again. I’d like to think I know mine fairly well. And honestly, I’m sitting here trying to remember if I’ve written about this before now and I have no idea. So if you’re reading this thinking that you’ve read it before, well you’re not in the Twilight Zone. Or maybe we both are? Yikes.

Let me tell you what some very keen observations have told me about my target audience. Have you ever been to an author signing? Well they’re pretty cool if you’re not among hundreds of people. I’ve been to a few. Both crime writers. Both NYT bestsellers as of today. I metΒ Steve Hamilton and T. Jefferson Parker. I have all but just a couple of their books. But I’m not here to talk about the events or what those two were like, I want to tell you about what I saw there.

This is very unscientific, but you use what you can, right? I would say both events were attended by maybe 50 people. It’s hard to say because the store changed its layout sometime in the months between these two events. Anyway, what I saw was approximately 90% White women. Who were aged 50+. And based on nothing at all, who I thought were college educated. I could probably come up with some other characteristics, but that’s all I focus on.

And I’m thinking that this type of person is a big reader of crime novels across the country. I don’t work in a bookstore or anything like that, but I do read other blogs and I have occasionally had someone buy books from me at work. And they fit the demographic I’ve described exactly.

Now that I claim to know my target audience, now what? Well, the only way I can think that knowing this has influenced my writing is the fact that Andrew Banks is obviously white. But other than that, the whole “write for your audience” thing people say is stupid to me. I write whatever I feel like.

Two things: Do you know your target audience? And how does this affect your writing?

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31 thoughts on “Knowing Your Audience

  1. I think I know them pretty well. I haven’t been to any signings, but I’ve done a lot of research on the middle grade demographic. It doesn’t change much how I write unless it’s to change the syntax or word use to make it more their level. Even then, I write what I want first and do that later. Honestly, I can’t say I think much about my demographic while I’m writing. I just write what comes to me and that’s that!

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  2. “I write whatever I feel like.” That’s what I like about you.

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  3. That is an interesting observation! Crime Fiction is not a genre I read, but maybe when I am 50+ πŸ˜‰

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  4. I try not to think about my audience when I’m writing, because then I start feeling pangs of pity and you know, that’s not good πŸ˜‰

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  5. As a college/young adult, I feel like I’m my target audience. But don’t really know what to do with that information…..

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  6. I am not sure if I know my target audience yet, but I think as I put out my work, my target audience will become more clear to me.

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  7. Pingback: Amazon’s 100 Books Everyone Should Read: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury | Write me a book, John!

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