Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Do You Know Your Target? by Morgan Mandel

Some authors write the book of their heart. They enjoy the experience so much they can't and won't write any other way. When they're through, they have a quandary. What's their audience? Who will read their book?

Others right away target a specific audience before even starting their manuscript. They don't have as much trouble finding an audience.

Then there's another category. They write the book of their heart, plus have a good idea who might like it. They have the ideal situation, unless they're wrong about who'd really like their book.

For my upcoming paranormal suspense, Forever Young - Blessing or Curse, I'm hoping to belong to the last category, and also hoping the senior audience will enjoy it. If younger ones like it, that will be an added boon I'd love to happen.

What about you? Which category do you fit in? If you know your target, what is it?

Morgan Mandel
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max said...

My target audience is readers 8 and up, especially boys.

Books for Boys Blog

When the Lights Go Out

Debra St. John said...

Yikes. I think I fall into the first category...I write what I like...and hope readers will too.

Hmn...maybe I need to rethink my strategy.

Although, there is a big market out there for contemporary romance, so maybe I'm safe! (g)

John Klawitter said...

If you write fiction for people who read, you write literature. From that point forward, the more you write for a particular audience the more you define the particular genre in which you have chosen to write. I do not mean to imply any negativity to this thought process, so necessary if a writer intends to be published. For me, the more important question would be To what purpose do you write?

Morgan Mandel said...

You have a good point, John. Some writers love to write for the sake of the writing experience, and may not even care to be published.

Morgan Mandel

Morgan Mandel said...

You have a good point, John. Some writers love to write for the sake of the writing experience, and may not even care to be published.

Morgan Mandel

Celia Hayes said...

I do kind of target an audience - I write historical fiction, but I try to do so with historical accuracy, and appeal to either serious history enthusiasts who like a good ripping yarn, or people who are passingly interested in the time/place (19th century frontier and Republic-era Texas) and who would like to learn more in a fairly painless but engaging way.

John Klawitter said...

If you take for granted that professional writers want to be published, still the question remains: What drives you to write? Bill Hanna, creator of The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and countless other animated stories, was livid that shows like Sesame Street brought overt teaching into their stories. Bill believed teaching was for school, and when classes let out they watched television for entertainment. So Educational Television was the bad guys. I know a successful author who writes crime mysteries because she was blindfolded and raped as a teenager. I personally write mystery suspense because when I was a kid I thrilled to radio shows like THE SHADOW at night in bed with the covers over my head, earphones and flashlight on, fishing the whisker on the radio crystal to get the best reception.

Anonymous said...

Agree with John when he asks "to what purpose do you write?" It's kind of sad when business takes precedence over art. Many of the greatest artists, composers and authors were poor as dirt. They may not have had much cash in the bank, but what a legacy they left us!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I was in that last category. I thought I knew who'd enjoy my book - other science fiction geeks who dug space opera and adventure. What has stunned me is how many women picked up the book and loved it. So I wrote the second one with both audiences in mind.

Fiona McGier said...

I write for female readers who want to identify with independent women who are in charge of their own sexuality. I want to show them that it is possible for them to meet a man who is attracted to a strong woman...a man who is equal to her, but willing to be vulnerable to capture her. Plus they have lots of wicked hot sex.
What surprises me is when men tell me they read my books and like them. I figure they are very open-minded men, considering most women don't even like to admit they read romance!

Bob Sanchez said...

So far, my target audience has been adults who can spare the price of my book. Think I should narrow it down?

Nancy J. Parra said...

Hi Morgan,

Great idea to target your audience. Love your book idea. My newest target is the cozy mystery reader who is gluten-free.


June Shaw said...

Ah, yes, I also target the senior market. Actually, baby boomers who are mainly on the far end. My main character is a widow who thinks she wants to avoid her hunky lover so she can rediscover herself, but... The books are romantic and mysteries and, readers tell me, lots of fun. Can't beat that--especially when you're getting a tad older: )

Karen Cioffi said...

It's important to know who your market will be. It'd be sad to put so much time and effort into a book and then not know who to market it to. Worse is if you write a book and find there is no market for it!

Simon Marshland said...

In a recent interview I was asked what I thought was the secret of successful writing. Taking the question to be one of financial success I replied that probably one of the most important aims was to find a particular genre that came naturally then stick with it. Build up a following of those who like crime, thrillers, adventure or love stories. One only has to browse down a library shelf to see the truth in this, yet for some reason, probably lack of mental discipline, I have never managed to follow my own advice. Instead finding myself gripped by some new topic, sitting down to scribble my views on the subject only to discover the idea for a book emerging as a result.

Anonymous said...

who to impress? Why, the reader of course! If that sounds prolix it's meant to be. apart from the kiddies, young adults I treat as adults and so my dark sf novels are for general consumption. Even though it is in that niche category which is not everybodies cup of cocoa. Plus I am hoping that readers are adventerous though as my doctor said: only crime and romance. There goes my theory.

Unknown said...

Good question, Morgan. At first, I only wrote Western Historical because that was my favorite genre to read, and I thought readers would like mine just as much as they liked Sandra Brown's. Well,I learned I could never stack up to her or any BIG GIRL author, but still her audience was my target audience. I did have some nice success--I am pleased, but not overjoyed.
But in between all those, I started writing what I called "just stories," contemporary romance/women's fiction.
My target audience now? I really don't look for one, and don't really care if there's a big group clamoring after me. I love every one of my books, be they different, and just hope someone else will. (I don't have enough confidence to ask for much.)
P.S. I have learned I don't care to write for the same line forever.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I write what I like to read--but I read just about everything. I do know though that my real audience is people who prefer no bad language or graphic sex in what they read--so that's what I write, leaving some things up to the reader's imagination.


Ronald S. Barrios said...

I write for anyone who loves crime fiction. No age group no gender. I just try to stick to what I know and let the writing speak for itself.
Feel free to read sample chapters and tell me what you think. I'd love to hear from you.

Deb Larson said...

I write for the thrill of creating a story someone else, male or female, will enjoy. As long as there is adventrue, suspense and some romance, I don't care what genre it is in although I lean from historical to sci-fi, and not much in contemporary.
DL Larson

Farrah from The Book Faery Reviews said...

I would likely fall into the 1st group but hope to be in the 3rd. :-)

V.R. Leavitt said...

I definitely fall into the first category. I'd love to be able to craft something with an audience in mind, but for the time being, hopefully people just like what pops into my head. I do. :-)