Friday, July 22, 2011

Know Thy Readers

Who are your target readers? Who do you want to see reading your books?

Livia Blackburne is tackling that question today on her blog. John Locke, the first indie author to sell a million ebooks on the Kindle, apparently builds an detailed profile of his target readers and writes for them. Livia has done the same today, and it's a very interesting read, so I've decided to do the same for my current book.

Obviously these are not the only people that I write for - the first person to read Becky was male, and now that I come to think of it, I haven't actually given it to any women to read yet. Audience-targeting fail detected in the Dublin region.

My target audience is mostly female, late teens through to late 30s. They like urban fantasy - with the emphasis on urban rather than fantasy. They like to read about real women with real lives who happen to encounter unusual or paranormal things. They wonder how high-fantasy heroes paid their bills and kept themselves fed, and if they're going to read about a woman who can kick arse, they want to know how she handles her friendships, her relationships, her home, her family. It's not enough being able to handle a supernatural being of immense power. They're interested in how people make difficult decisions, when the right thing to do feels completely wrong. They like it when cool stuff happens but they want it to feel real. 

Who are your target readers? What do you reckon they're like?
PS: I've been largely offline for a few days and I missed Wednesday's usual post I was attending Paul's son Conor's funeral service. I decided not to try and schedule a post because it simply didn't feel right to me. 

Being offline cost me a few Twitter followers but not a single blog follower - so it seemed like a good time to say thanks to all my followers for always being lovely people!


  1. Target audience is definitely important to me. I wrote my novel for my younger teenage self. It is the story I would have wanted to read when I was a teenager. So I wrote my story for teenage girls. But I also wrote it for adults (like me) who still enjoy a good YA novel.

    Nice post.

  2. At best, I'm writing for those out there who wish that literary fiction could be a little more magical sometimes. It's either a niche or a really bad marketing strategy, but only time will tell.

    (And who in their right mind would bother nixing a Twitter feed because you missed a post, and especially for something like a funeral? My love goes out to Paul and his wife, and of course brave little Conor.)

  3. Itssacred, I'm a YA nut so if I ever get around to writing some YA I think I'll be writing it to appeal to adults too :)

    Alyson, if you like magical literary fiction, have you ever read anything by a writer called Alice Hoffman? If not, I recommend checking out her books. One of my favourite is The River King. She doesn't always have overt supernatural elements but there is always a hint of the otherworldly about her and she's one of my favourite writers.

    I don't think most people on Twitter knew where I was, and it could just be a coincidence! Nevertheless it seemed like a good time to say something nice about you guys. And I know Paul and Jen really appreciate your thoughts Alyson :) Take care

  4. Hi Alyson, and thank you. Every thought helps.

    I'm not sure who exactly I write for. People who like a story to resonate with them? Who want to see darkness faced and, through will, determination and sacrifice, finally overcome? Given that I write urban fantasy, and some YA urban fantasy, I figure my main target audience is likely to be women.


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