Knowing who your audience is

Years ago, one advice given to aspiring writers was to know who your audience is. It went into one ear and out the other. I was questioning that piece of advice since how can I know who my audience is? If I happen to finish a book, I know at least a few people that likes it, other than me.

So that piece of advice was ignored by me for the most part.

Until last week.

I reblogged a post from Larry Corriea’s Monster Hunter Nation a few days ago here. A book bomb to help out a fellow writer in need. Anyways, I looked at who the writer was. His name is David Wolverton. He also goes by the pen name of David Farland for when he writes fantasy as to not to confuse his audience. I have read a few of his books over the years.

The thing is that he has trained other writers and they have done well. Names like Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), Stephanie Meyers (Twilight) and quite a few others. Say what you want about Twilight. Even though I haven’t read the series, it apparently made Stephanie some money.

Anyways, David Wolverton/Farland put out a few ebooks on writing. One was Million Dollar Outlines for $6.99. I picked it up for my nook.

When I started reading it, my mind was blown. There were things that I have heard before, but never explained. The part of knowing who your audience is a very important factor when planning out your book. Example is age groups. A young boy is looking for something different in a book than, say, a grandmother. Each are looking for a different emotional impact the story gives out. A teenage boy is looking for sexual stuff and adventure. Teenage girls are looking for romance (Twilight). When you read in a genre, what do expect to get out of it? THAT is what you look for when writing. Emotional payoffs. There is more to it than that, but hopefully you get a glimmer of what is needed in a story.

I came across an example of this today:

Why is Elizabeth a Sex Object (Bioshock Infinite video game)

The poster, self-proclaimed female, complained about the obvious sexual references to character Elizabeth. Big boobs and big eyes. Mostly big boobs.

Why? The answer is simple. They are marketing towards teenage boys and men. A big part of their customer base. Another case is Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider games. Check out her polygons.

Another example is J.K. Rowling: Just take a look at the different ages and ethnicity of her characters across her books. She catered to everyone. She put out a wider net for her audience. She just didn’t focus entirely on young children for her audience. Something to think about.

So I do recommend getting Million Dollar Outlines. I also picked up David’s ebook Write that Novel only found on his website davidfarland.net. It is $20. Upon reading Write that Novel, I thought I bought the same book as Million Dollar Outlines. Bringing up both books on my computer, it was then I noticed the differences. The Write that Novel goes deeper than Million Dollar Outlines. I haven’t fully gone through the book yet, but I expect more gold to come. I also plan on getting his other book on Resonance writing.

When funding permits, I plan on getting some of the Superstars Writing Seminars mp3s  here.

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14 thoughts on “Knowing who your audience is

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