Having an idea of who you would like reading your novel is an excellent way to help you shape the content of your story. Your intended audience will help you know where your writing will fit in the pantheon of literature.

 

I was recently helping a client with his finished novel when we began a long, detailed discussion about into what genre it fit. I asked him who he thought would be his intended audience. The answer he gave was that he wrote it for himself without really thinking about who would be reading it.

Writing for ourselves is a very common way to motivate us to finish writing. After all – we are the very first audience for the novel, right? However, there are other ways where knowing your intended audience can help you take your novel from concept to reality.

If you have an idea of an audience, it may help you understand into what genre your book fits. Knowing the genre can help you know other writers that tackle similar subjects, what kinds of characters are hitting with the readers, and just how far you can push boundaries.

Knowing your audience and thinking about genre help you know what to do in your next step. If you attend writing workshops, sometimes they offer specific panels that may apply to your writing based on your chosen audience. There are literary agents and publishers who only deal with certain genres. And if you’re considering self-publishing, you will need to have an understanding of the category where your novel will be browsed.

Just because you have an audience in mind does not limit who will become the readers of your writing. There are many books and book series out there that cross genres and do well with multiple audiences. But the content of the books themselves fit within certain genre guidelines. Being aware of those guidelines helps to not only sharpen our content within the boundaries but also to recognize when to blow right past them as well.

As a writer and artist, isn’t it best to still write for yourself? Of course, you should be writing what ultimately interests you because that interest will show in your words. But giving your writing an intended audience will help in defining parameters and shaping the aspects of it to make it easier for you and an editor to polish your writing for its next step.

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