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Whenever an author sits down and works on their WIP, there are many important aspects that go into the project. From knowing the beginning, middle and end, to character development, and an idea of what the theme might be, it is imperative to have a few things in mind when working on a book (or script, or play…).

One of these other must-haves is…who is your audience?

Meaning, who are you writing for?

book reading book open

Image via Flickr via Creative Commons. Photo by Sam Greenhalgh.

You’re not really writing for yourself when you work on a book. It may feel like it, especially since writing a book is a one-person project – at least, until an editor gets involved. But yes, being an author is a solo project. So that is why it may feel like you are writing the book for you. After all, it was you who came up with the story idea. It was you who found the perfect names for your characters. It was you who can foresee how this story would end. Sounds like you are your own audience, right?

Nope!

Whether you know it or not, you are writing for other people. And these people are the ones you’d like to read your book. You can’t say that your book is for everyone because it is not. Yes, anyone could read it, but not everyone is going to like it. You want readers to like your book, and not for the sake of your ego. When someone reads a book, they are on a journey created by you, the author. So, who do you want to go on the journey with you?

That is when you become aware that you have to have a target audience in mind when you set out to write a book. Is your book for men or women? Young or old? Those are the basics.

Then you have to consider what your book is about and its theme. That’s when you begin to narrow it down to who your audience is. Writing a dark thriller? Your audience are people who can stomach it. Writing a sexy romance? Your audience are women who enjoy such stories. Writing a sci-fi/fantasy? Your audience are probably are what some call “nerds” who consider “The Lord of the Rings” their favorite trilogy and movies.

Then comes your theme, what makes it unique and what stands out about it. Take my first book for example. A young woman tries to cope with her vampire boyfriend forcing her to become a vampire, or else. So, that means my target audience is mostly young and female, those who like vampire stories and prefer evil vampires over the softer ones, and may enjoy a thriller-type of story. There you go. That was my audience.

Now, that is not to say other people who are not on that list would not want to read your book. I’ve had male readers, those who aren’t really into thriller-type stories, or one that does not have a happy ending. Anyone can read your book, but not all will like it – although there is always room for surprises!

Come to think of it, learning and understanding who your audience is, is the first step towards marketing your book. And all authors – whether indie or traditional – must be aware of the marketing aspect of their books. Since selling book is a business, you have to know who your audience is as you write your book.

And you cannot create your audience or force it. It comes naturally at times, as naturally as you writing your story. Meaning, as natural as it was for your own story to form in your mind and then on paper or Scrivener, your audience will be as organic. There’s no controlling aspect to it. You cannot control who your audience is. All you can do is write what you feel is in your instincts, and your audience will take shape along with it.

Those are my two cents 🙂

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