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Understanding your ideal reader

So, you've got this amazing story brewing in your mind, characters chattering away, and worlds waiting to be built. But, before you dive into the writing frenzy, it is vital that you think about your ideal reader. Writing without your ideal reader in mind is basically sharing your story blindfolded – your reader age, demographic, interests and so much more will determine whether your manuscripts hits or flops.

Imagine throwing a party without knowing who your guests are. You might end up with mismatched music, awkward conversations, and a vibe that just doesn't click. Similarly, writing without understanding your reader can lead to a disconnect that leaves your audience scratching their heads—or worse, putting your book down.

So, here are some tips to help you figure out who your ideal reader might be:

Where do your readers hang out?

Forums, social media groups, and book clubs related to your genre are all great ways to find out about your potential readers – what are they talking about? Listen in to conversations – metaphorically of course! – follow discussion threads and look at the types of questions they ask.. Are they obsessed with strong heroines, romance, or spine-tingling suspense? What are the hot topics for business books; seek out trending themes and comments. Engage, but more importantly, listen, and you'll start to get a feel for the preferences and expectations of your target audience.



Don't be afraid to reach out and ask your potential readers directly. Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram are goldmines for engaging with your audience. Run polls, ask open-ended questions, or simply start a conversation about topics related to your book. You'll be surprised at how willing people are to share their thoughts and insights. Plus, you'll gain valuable firsthand feedback that can shape your writing style and content. What do they love and sometimes more crucially, what do they hate!


Study your competition

Take a stroll down the book aisle—both physical and virtual—and pay attention to the books sitting alongside where yours would be. These are your shelf buddies, and their readers could very well be your readers too. Look at the covers, read blurbs, and dive into reviews. What themes are resonating with readers? What writing styles are they drawn to? By studying your shelf buddies, you'll uncover the preferences of your target audience.


And finally, once you start writing, WRITE FOR AN AUDIENCE OF ONE!! I have lost count of the number of times I say this in a week, month, year…but it really is so important. You know how the saying goes...if you try to please all of the people all of the time…

The same is true for writing, if you try to be all things to all people you run the risk of devaluing your work and of becoming vague and off message. If you write brilliantly for your one ideal reader, you can guarantee that there will be many other similar readers standing in line behind them who will appreciate and relate to your work.


And remember, understanding your reader is an ongoing process. It evolves as you grow as a writer and as your audience evolves too. So, keep an open mind, stay curious, and be ready to adapt along the way.

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