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Whatever you write—whether it’s free verse poetry, sci-fi short stories, romance novels, or any genre in between—you should always be true to who you are and what fulfills you as a writer. But if your goal is to have your work published and read, you should also consider who your audience might be. At Writer’s Relief, we have some tips to help you identify and target your ideal reader to boost your odds of getting published.
How To Identify And Target Your Ideal Reader
Realize readers are people, not demographics. Your ideal reader isn’t a bland collection of data determined simply by age, race, gender, and income: Readers are real people. Think of a specific person who would be interested in reading your work. Imagine how they will react to a particular turn of phrase or plot twist. If your middle-aged aunt Marge, who loves cozy mysteries, represents your target audience, how would she respond to reading a scene that has a gory, graphic murder? What about your dog-loving neighbor: Would he enjoy reading your fantasy story where pets can talk? Knowing what your reader does—and doesn’t—like will help you accurately target your writing.
And while it’s important to consider who your audience is, it’s just as important to think about why they would buy your book or purchase a literary journal to read your work. What’s in it for them: escapism, information, comfort, or something else? Understanding what motivates your readers allows you to better focus your writing.
Get feedback from beta readers. Once you have a draft, let others review your writing. Share your work with your writing group, and if you have friends or family members who fit your audience, ask them for a critique as well. Getting feedback on your writing will guide you in revising your final draft so that it appeals to your readership.
However, don’t feel you must automatically make every single change suggested. If it doesn’t feel right, stay true to yourself and your writing. Read more here: Dos And Don’ts Of Taking Feedback On Your Creative Writing.
Find your writing niche. Nothing can appeal to every single person. No matter how similar our tastes may be, we all like to read different things. So rather than trying to appeal to the broadest possible audience, find your niche. Instead of fixating on the number of readers you might have, focus on the quality of those readers. By defining a clear audience and knowing what they want to read, you’ll develop a faithful audience eager for your work.
Read the work of successful writers. Learn which writers have been successful with the same audience you hope to reach and read their work. When you read like a writer, you’ll discover ways to capture your reader’s attention and use words, story arcs, and styles that they will enjoy. Reading more and improving your writing skills will make it easier for you to accurately target your work to your reader.
Identifying your ideal reader early in the writing process can help shape your work so it has the best odds of getting published and read by your target audience. Get started now by using these tips!
Question: How would you describe your ideal reader?