Who are you writing for? It sounds like a funny question, but whatever novel, screenplay, play, or poetry you’re working on has an intended target audience.

Whether you realize it yet, or not.

So, how do you figure out who this invisible audience is? How do you stay true to yourself and your creative process while ensuring these individuals buy what you’re selling?

Let’s talk about it.

Something to Think About

The suggestions below should be considered before you’ve started writing your manuscript. That way, you can craft the narrative toward a specific audience easier, and not have to make drastic changes after the fact.

What’s Your Genre?

Walk into any bookstore and look at the headings above each section. Where would your story fit in as you look at the categories and peruse the book covers and titles? Do the blurbs on the back of the books match the vibe of your story?

You know your story better than anyone, so you should know what category or categories your story falls into. Is it a mystery? Horror? Romance? Young Adult? Even if you are mixing genres, one dominates over the other. Which one can you see your story being described as?

Who Reads That?

If you know your genre or genres, you can figure out your story’s demographic. Are you writing mainstream fiction that will be accessible to all readers? Are you in a niche audience with a unique and specific following? Is your story for a particular age group, like children, middle schoolers, or young adults?  

Knowing these things can help you shift your story more toward your target demographic, especially if it’s geared toward a specific age group or readership.  

What Can and Can’t I Get Away With?

Once you know your genre and target audience, I strongly recommend reading books that cover those categories and discovering what they can and can’t include in their stories. All genres have rules and tropes that readers expect, so it’s essential to keep the reader on your side and give them what they want in a slightly different package. 

If you are writing for kids or young adults, be aware of what’s acceptable and unacceptable in these stories. While I know there has been a cultural shift lately in what content some schools allow and others don’t. As a writer, you need to understand these rules and know what you can and can’t include for this particular demographic.

If you know someone who loves your genre, give them your manuscript and get their feedback. This can help you gauge if you nailed the genre and target demographic and if they have any suggestions about what to add or cut.

Final Thoughts

No matter what you’re writing, it’s crucial to understand the genre and audience you hope will someday read or produce your work. Researching, reading other books or scripts in your genre, and knowing what content is acceptable and not in your chosen genre can help you find readers and, hopefully, a dedicated following.

Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!

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