Writing for your audience
By Preflight Books
Writing for your audience

Who are you writing for?  

Writing is in itself a difficult task, and even more so when you have to consider who you are writing for. There is a book for almost everyone on Earth, it is just a matter of getting that book to the right person. According to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) there are almost 2.2 million new titles published worldwide each year!   

Your audience can be anyone from children, mothers, engineers, sports fanatics, avid gardeners or even the budding DIY enthusiast. No matter who you’re writing for, choose your audience with care and write specifically for them.  

Finding your audience  

Finding your audience is easier said than done. It is easy to say that you are writing a children’s book, but a 12-year-old would probably not pick up a picture book meant for a toddler and enjoy reading it. Most writers tend to generalise their audience to; the person on the street, everyone in South Africa or all lovers of poetry. This may lead to disappointment because not everyone in South Africa is a rugby fan and not all poetry lovers read love poems dedicated to a first love. So, how do you find out who your target audience is? Well, here are some basic questions that you can ask yourself to find the answer: 

  • Who are they? (Age, gender, education level, economic status, interests, religious beliefs, values.)   
  • What do they know about the subject? (Novice, interested/general reader, expert.)  
  • Why are they reading? (For entertainment, for instruction, for the latest information on the subject.)   
  • Where will they be reading? (Printed book, eBook, in a magazine, on the internet.)  

What does your readership mean to you?  

Every writer needs to ask themselves this question! What does your readership mean to you? Are they only there to buy your books and make you some money? Or, are their lives, interests and well-being important to you as a writer? There is a reason that you started writing, and this reason will most probably relate directly to your readership. If you have an inspirational story to tell, you may struggle to pin point your audience but you hope that the person who needs it the most will pick up your book and find inspiration between its pages. Your own children may have belly laughed at your funny stories when they were little and now you hope to keep the laughter going into the generations to come. Sit down and write, for yourself and your target audience.  

Decide who your audience is, create a picture of your ideal reader, then sit down and write for them.  

Our audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person you know, or an imagined person – and write to that one. 

– John Steinbeck

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