Writing tip #7: Know Your Target Audience

You’ve written a book and you’re ready to get it published. Question is, do you know your target audience?

If you say it’s “everyone”, you may have a problem. Everyone is too broad and everyone is not what agents and publishers want to hear.

To get a better idea of your audience, start by thinking of your genre. Knowing your genre can help identify your audience.

For instance, let’s say you’ve written a love story and it falls under Women’s Fiction. Now you know a little more about who your readers are: women. But let’s get even more specific.

Try asking yourself the following questions (modify these questions based on your genre):
What’s the age group of these women?
Are they single, married or divorced?
Are they mothers?
Are they career women?
What sorts of books do they read? Who are the authors?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll know exactly who your target audience is. This will help you pitch your story to the right agents. And if you’re self-publishing, this will help you in marketing your book.


Why It’s Important to Know Your Genre

Around this time last year, I attended my very first Writers Conference.

There were two questions I got asked a lot. One was, “What genre do you write?” and “What is your book about?”

For this post, I’ll talk about genre. I’ll save the second question for my next post.

A Writers conference is a great way to network and meet writers, editors, authors, and agents. It is inevitable that someone at some point will ask you about your genre and your book. Knowing your answers to these questions will put you a step ahead.

Before attending the conference, I did some research on my own regarding genres. I knew it was important. For one, you can’t approach a Literary Agent without knowing your genre. Approaching an agent who represents romance when you have a thriller will only waste your time and theirs.

It was interesting to have met quite a few fiction writers who came to the conference wanting to land an agent, who didn’t know their genres and who didn’t even have finished manuscripts. They wandered around aimlessly not knowing how to approach an agent.

NOTE: If you plan on pitching to an agent or an editor and you write fiction, make sure you have a finished manuscript and know your genre.

If you’re unsure about where your book belongs to, AgentQuery has a great list of genres and descriptions.

There are many reasons why knowing your genre is important. For one, it can help you market your book. Some people search by genres when they go online to find books they’re interested in, like romance, thriller, chick lit, fantasy, etc. Same when they visit bookstores.

If you don’t know your genre and need help figuring it out, here are some tips:

Think of it this way—if you were to walk into a bookstore, what aisle would you find your book in? Check Amazon.com and see how books are categorized. Go to your local bookstore and check out the signs and sections. Where would you see your book?

So, what’s your genre?