Know your readership …

This post was recently printed in the Romance Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Blog. I would like to share this with my blog “readers.”

I have been toying with the concept of “who is my readership” and where do I find them?

You might believe that once you come to “The End” and congratulate yourself for a job well done, your next task is merely to find an agent, publisher or venue to capture your words between the covers.

Foolishly, you think the hardest part of your job is writing the book, and once you finish the first book, you can happily hand it over to someone and go back to the boards to write another.

The process of getting your book from your hands to the hands of your readers is the topic of hundreds, perhaps thousands of books, magazine articles and blog posts, written by thousands of successful authors, agents, publishers, editors and bloggers.

You must first know your genre. This helps everyone from the agents to the booksellers place your book in the hierarchy of the book store. On what shelf is your genre? Romance, Young Adult and Mystery are three of the largest categories, sell the most books, and get the best visibility in the store.

For today, let us assume each of you is secure in your genre, you are comfortable when writing that one line in your query letter:

Alice Go Lightly, humorous women’s fiction, finished at 90,000 words is about Alice in the shot glass about to go belly up to the bar.

Next, you need to know your market place. To whom do you send the query? Do you target the top six publishers? Then you must first break through the invisible line of  summer interns, swim through shark invested waters, climb over twenty-foot brick walls and slip between the cracks of the thick oak doors leading to the secret chambers of the “literary agent.”

However, you still need to know your readership.

My readers are mainly women over the age of reason, or women grown up enough to use reasoning in their thought processes.

I target women 35 years of age, plus. It’s the plus part I love so much. It’s round and plump and filled with tremendous possibilities. Plus can be a larger than life woman who has lived long enough to enjoy herself without guilt.

Plus can be a larger piece of the demographic market share or expenditures made by women of discerning tastes. Plus can also mean more than, greater than and plenty more where that came from.

For me the task is simple. The central characters and themes of my work have appeal to both baby boomers and Generation X’ers alike. Those girls and women I grew up with, added to those girls and women I helped raise.

These are the same women who buy most of the romance and mystery for themselves, and YA books for the young adults in their life. When mom goes to the bookstore, chain or discount, she will get the latest urban fantasy or other YA books for the kids, and some women’s fiction, romance, mystery, humor or erotica for herself. Are you in the mood for Janet Evanovitch or Charlaine Harris? Is today a day for Eve Dallas or Lucas Davenport?

Mom buys for everyone and mom is my reader.

Knowing your readers makes it easier to find them when you want to shout about your book being on the market. This brings us to your blog, web page, twitter and Facebook.

Does social networking actually increase your visibility? Can you find your readers in such places as Facebook or Twitter? Will you become one of the hundreds of bloggers out there who captures the imagination of thousands of people? But that is another story.

And in the end, it all comes down to …

Can you tell a story someone wants to read?

I am fOIS In The City 

Find Baby Reading here. 
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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Know your readership …

  1. We certainly have the same audience: smart, grown-up women not afraid to laugh at ourselves.

    I’ve read some agents (like Janet Reid) who don’t want you to say “humorous”. “I’ll be the judge of that,” says La Reid.

    Daphne Unfeasable likes us to call it “witty women’s fiction” but that sounds a bit like tooting one’s own horn too. Right now I’m saying “comic women’s fiction”. I suppose somebody will object to that, too. And I have had some people confuse it with graphic novels. Sigh.

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  2. It’s maddening, isn’t it? It isn’t enough you write the book, edit and rewrite the book, revise and edit the book, write and rewrite the query and on into nausea … then it’s what genre, cross-genre, age category.

    The damn book is funny, for people who like funny, romantic tales that might be more than two-dimensional.

    Yikes! What a pain 🙂

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  3. christicorbett

    Now I have more things to think about 🙂

    Good post!

    Christi Corbett
    http://christicorbett.wordpress.com

    Like

  4. thanks for posting this. its important to remember. and youre so right.

    Like

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