If you want to succeed as a writer, you need to know your audience: Who are you writing for? The answer will determine your topic, word choices, structure, and more. At Writer’s Relief, we know that if your audience enjoys cozy mysteries, you’ll quickly lose readers if your pages are full of nightmarish horror. And readers who prefer humor will be disappointed if nothing in your work makes them smile. Even poets aren’t exempt—you don’t want to submit your free verse poetry to a literary journal where readers expect to see haiku and senryu. To grow your readership and boost your odds of getting published, use these tips to accurately answer the question: Who is your audience, writer?
How To Identify And Write For Your Audience
Know the unwritten rules of your genre. Diehard genre fiction fans have certain expectations about what they read. While your bittersweet, heart-wrenching ending may be embraced in literary fiction circles, romance readers expect happy endings. Thriller readers will be on the lookout for creative, engaging plot twists. When you’re writing in an established genre niche, make sure you don’t leave fans confused or disappointed.
Consider your readers’ age and demographics. A book for elementary or middle schoolers will be shorter than a book for adults. Remember too, though, that the language you use and topics you cover are also likely to be quite different—while young readers can handle some hard-hitting subject matter, books or stories for children versus adults tend to have totally different voices, language, and construction.
Demographics also include hobbies, location, and marital status. If your audience includes a lot of gardeners in the Northeast, including plants that are indigenous to that part of the country will strike a chord with your readers. And amateur curling enthusiasts will appreciate writing that incorporates shouts of “Clean!” to the sweeper.
Look at what’s trending. From topics to genres to lengths, the world of publishing sees trends and fads just like the fashion industry. Pay attention to what’s popular in your genre—these can be fun to play around with! Of course, you don’t want your writing to seem like a carbon copy of someone else’s work. Be sure to find ways to put your own unique spin on the current trends in your genre.
Understand your existing fan base. Ask yourself what your loyal readers have come to expect from you. Are you a master of a certain genre? Do you write unforgettable dialogue or create memorable images? Are your characters notably nuanced? Give your readers more of what they want! This doesn’t mean that you can never switch genres just because you have an established audience. But whatever makes your writing stand out as uniquely yours, strive to maintain that from project to project.
And Remember, Your Most Important Audience Member Is…
You! While it’s important to consider your audience and the market, it’s equally important to make sure you’re living your own truth as a writer. If your heart isn’t in the poetry or story you’re creating, readers and editors will be able to tell—and they’ll be just as disappointed as you are.
Don’t lose sight of why you want to write and what you like to write about. Combine this creative energy with having a better knowledge of your audience, and your writing will be on target—and your odds of getting published will improve.
Question: What’s a key trait of your audience?