Thursday, April 25, 2013
Know Your Reader
When you're planning, writing, and editing, keep in mind your ideal reader. Are you writing for children? young adults? adults? Men? Women? Do they have a lot of time on their hands? Are they in a hurry all the time? Do they have time to sit and devote to your book or will they put it down if it shows a hint of getting slow?
This might seems like unimportant questions, perhaps something that will work itself out without your needing to work at it. For some people, I have no doubt, they are. Some authors may never think about audience. However, I would hazard a guess that many of these never sell many books.
I would highly suggest finding someone whom you want to write a book for. Who do you want to read your book? Who simply must enjoy it? Find one person in your life. Keep them in mind as you're writing.
For me, that one person is my mother. She's read my very very first draft. Normally I would say that's a no-no, but my mother's not an editor, she's not a beta reader, she's not giving me any feed back except her reactions to scenes and telling me to "write more, now". Until I finally finished it. Now it's "Edit it!" But I digress.
I recently gave her the last four or five chapters of the rough draft. Her reactions to some scenes were... not what I expected. They're not even what I had hoped for. Not anywhere close. BUT, she did give me some insight into a character who had reacted in a way I hadn't expected. That feedback is invaluable. Now I have some idea of other things that need to be fixed/changed in editing before it goes out to beta readers.
Now, my mother may not be the target audience for EVERY book, I'll probably use friends and other family members at points, and that's okay. Not every book is good for everyone. Some people enjoy fantasy more than others, some steam-punk, some like romance (which I thought my mom preferred, but she LOVES Mortality).
A Tip: If you're book is romance, don't have a hardcore Tolkien fan in mind for your target reader. It doesn't make any sense. Instead, find a Nora Roberts fan. Someone you know. Let them read your book (I'm not saying VERY first draft, but early) and they will give you invaluable feed back.