Finding the Audience for Your Book

The first job of the author is to know who she is writing for. Although she may begin the writing process for herself, she is just writing a journal unless her first order of business is to connect with an audience.

While you may write a book that anyone might enjoy reading, there is probably a most likely reader—male or female, thirty-something or older, lay person or professional, and so forth. It is critical for the author to know who is most likely to want and benefit from his or her book and then write that book in a way that is most accessible and interesting for her targeted audience.

The wider the appeal, the bigger the potential audience for the book.

A book can appeal to a large audience based on three factors: subject, approach, and the author. A book on money, diets, or sex is of interest to a wide adult audience—most people will buy books on these subjects at one time or another.

There is as much controversy about writing a book in a way that will appeal to the audience as there is about product placements in movies. Should a writer write what he or she has to say and not be concerned with the audience? Most of our brilliant new ideas are controversial and not very popular at first. This is a decision only you, as the writer, can make.

But if large volume sales are your goal, you can’t ignore what the audience wants. If you think a particular company, association, or group would be a good candidate for large volume purchases, showcase material that might make them take notice.

A rookie mistake of new authors is to tell people what they should do instead of enticing them in with stories they can relate to and accept. If you are the expert, then you do want to share your knowledge. But berating your readers so they feel bad about their actions isn’t the way to high book sales.

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