Write Your Book for Your Audience, not Yourself

Two people read books

So you want to write a book, or you want a work with a ghostwriter. You have a great story that you know would benefit a lot of people if they could just read your words. That would result in your dream of selling thousands of copies and making a living as a novelist.

There are a lot of factors that go into making a book a great success. One that many first-time authors or would-be authors overlook is audience.

If you take nothing else away from this post, remember this: Do not write the book for yourself. Write it for them. You don’t matter. Your audience matters. You just have to figure out who and where they are.

As part of my writing process — and before a single word is written — I ask all clients to identify who they’re trying to reach. Sometimes they know. If they don’t, we create a profile.

Who are the readers?

We start with demographic information: Who are these readers who would benefit from the book? Are they male/female/nonbinary? What ages? What industries? What economic backgrounds, racial backgrounds, religious backgrounds, marital backgrounds? What geographic areas? Not all these will apply, but they have to be considered.

For example, a client I had knew he wanted to reach professionals in the U.S. who owned their own businesses but struggled with marketing during COVID. Age, religion, race, gender, and industry didn’t matter.

Next, is there some niche that they want to reach? One client wanted to aim for spouses who married psychopaths. Another wanted to reach people who had to defend themselves in court. Yet another wanted to target men who have lost their children due to parental alienation. A fourth knew he wanted people who had heart problems and were comatose for some time to read his work.

From there, we specify: professional women who married psychopaths and survived; men younger than retirement age living in the eastern U.S. whose mysterious heart ailment caused a coma but lived; any American who was a pro se litigant.

Who else?

Now that we have our target audience, it’s time to expand that audience. Who else might be interested? The client trying to reach spouses of psychopaths might consider expanding to spouses of sociopaths or narcissists. The client looking for heart ailments might want to consider heart doctors or neurosurgeons who study comas.

Another way to expand the audience: Find similar books that already have been written on the topic and see who’s reading those. This serves two purposes: helping determine the audience and knowing what has already been written so we don’t duplicate.

There are a wealth of marketing books, inspiring stories of overcoming heart ailments, and nonfictional accounts of coupling with the deranged. Amazon is a great place to look.

Where to find them?

Next comes the important task of finding the audience. This is where social media and the simple art of asking comes into play. 

Chances are, the people who are your Facebook friends or your Instagram and LinkedIn connections have some of the same interests as you. Some of those will fit your target reader profile. There will be threads on these and other outlets such as Twitter, Quora, or Reddit that you can follow and access.

And you can always just ask your real friends.

By doing the necessary research before a single word gets out of your head and placed onto the page, you will be that much closer to accomplishing your goal of reaching your target audience with those words you know will change their lives — once you write them (or have them ghostwritten), of course.

I’m always happy to discuss this and any post with you. Contact Lee for book ghostwriting in Boston or a book editor in Boston. Contact me by clicking on the Contact tab and filling out the form.

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