Monday, July 30, 2007

Who are you writing for?

Not my Mom, that's for sure.

When I wrote my first book, I think vaguely that I had some idea that my readers would be male, late teens to mid forties. Who else would like a book so full of sophomoric humor, with cussing, a lot of cleavage worship, and all of the dimwitted stuff that guys find so amusing?

Not women, for sure I thought. Not even my Mom. Well, my Mom's a woman, but I don't think of her that way ... well, I guess any guy's relationship to his mother doesn't much include thinking of her as a woman with, um, womanly thoughts and stuff.

She's just Mom, right?

Anyway, I remember my first query letters to agents and publishers, who all wanted to know who the target audience is, and how I would attack the market to attract their interest. All the time I'm thinking that it's for guys and figuring, "Okay, advertise in tool magazines, Playboy, gaming magazines..."

Hah, just kidding, my budget is more like put a flier in front of a tool store, strip club, electronic games store.

But I was pretty much convinced that I knew who would like the book, who would get the most from my dazzling prose. And that's when the surprises started.

First was my publisher - half female owned, ... then my first ever review (and an awesome one it was) - a woman, ... the editor of a magazine that my publisher advertised it in - a woman, ... my first blurb from an already published author, Barb D'Amato. The most recent review from Pop Syndicate ... a woman.

And they all raved about my so-called 'guy' book. Barb even wrote me later and asked permission to send the ARC to a friend of hers who needed cheering up... a female friend.

I thought to myself, "Huh?"

So I sent an email out to Barb saying, "Huh?"

She got back to me that women like my book because I point out what goobs we - guys - are. Because I wrapped my book around stereotypes and just knotted everything good and tight ... then I cut the bonds. Well, she didn't put it that way, but that's how I understood her.

With this new perspective on my target audience, I had to revamp my marketing efforts and made sure that woman knew that they would enjoy my book. It wasn't just for guys! You could read it somewhere other than the bathroom! Woo-hoo!

So I took my newfound knowledge that both men and women would like my book and now I knew whom to go after. Men and women age 19 and ... well, up. No upper limit.

And that's when I got my next surprise. My book somehow hit the local high school, and next thing I know, I'm learning that teenagers like it! Both sexes, and, well, those in-between ones who dress in black and all look alike regardless of their sex.

And a YA reviewer wrote how it's the funniest book she (yes, she) has ever read, and she puts it on both of her sites.

What to take from all of this?

You can't exclude people from your readership based on assumptions and misconceptions. Young people may have mature tastes and older people may be more interested in slapstick humor. You just never know.

Why I myself actually enjoyed a romance novel once. Yeah, so kick me out of the Guy Union. I had an excuse, it was wrapped in a sci-fi novel.

Anyway, open your horizons because every single person you see may be one of YOUR readers! Don't forget it!

The Adventures of Guy ... written by a guy (probably)
The Next Adventures of Guy ... more wackiness

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