Monday, 27 February 2012

Become A Profiler

We’ve all heard it. Zero in on your target audience. Build your author platform according to who you’re writing for. Sage advice for sure. Books without identifiable potential readers do not sell. Let me repeat that. If you don’t have target market in mind—who you gonna call? To avoid creating a manuscript no one wants, successful writers consider who will read the fruits of their labors. They know their market, and that’s who they write for.

One of the most frequent mistakes made by beginner writers—a step above the writer who does not even bother to look at the publisher’s guidelines—is to assume that EVERYONE will enjoy what they write. You have to decide early on what posse you belong with. Pick your tribe, pick your team, pick where you roll.
A great first step toward knowing your readers is learning what they already like. Read what they read. Check book reviews. Go over the bestseller lists. What needs do these books fill? Who are the main characters? What emotions are dealt with in the story? Once done, you can find the parts that appeal to your strengths as a writer and your likes as a person, to make sure that your book is not just another version of a successful series, but rather a fresher, more vibrant work.

Probably the most important rule in writing is to know your readers, but do not become so obsessed with them that they interfere with your writing what you love. Let’s face it most of us start with ideas, not readers. Awareness is the key here. Perhaps the best way to start creating a reader profile is to start with your idea, and go through these series of questions: Who will this interest? Who will this help? Who needs to know this? Who wants to know this? Once you’ve answered those questions, you can start to identify the type of reader who will benefit.
And believe me, if your readers benefit, then you’ll benefit.

Image: Stock/123rf/2335933


  1. Fantastic post, Sharon. It's all too easy to set off writing that cracking idea, only to find you've written it for naught. Might just have done this with my current WIP, so this smarts.

    1. I think my problem has been figuring out where I belong genre-wise. It took a while for me to find my nich - mid-grade and the low end of YA. Now I feel more align to my audience. Cheers and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Great post Sharon. Sometimes you need to write what you are driven to write and then figure out who your reader will be and edit your work to fit that genre. Other times you need to know your reader before-hand. But before you can do anything about marketing yourself and your book you have to know who your audience will be. And since much of the advice today is to begin building your social network platform as soon as you begin writing that makes knowing who your audience is even more important.

  3. I love this...and completely agree. Well done!

  4. A great post, Sharon, and food for thought. Sometimes I find that a story demands to be told, but that doesn't obviate the need to edit it and make it attractive and relevant to a particular audience. Well, not unless I want it to join the drawer with some of my other pieces!