When you’re absorbed in the task of writing a novel, it can be easy to forget that the whole point of what you’re trying to do is engage a reader and satisfy his or her expectations of your story.
But if you don’t know who your ideal reader is, how can you possibly write a story that meets (or exceeds) your ideal reader’s expectations?
As a book coach and a developmental editor, I work with a lot of writers who don’t know who their target audience is. So, in today’s post, I’m going to talk about why ideal readers are important, and how to create an ideal reader profile for your next novel. Let’s dive in!
An ideal reader is the ONE person who's going to love your book just as much as you do.
Your ideal reader can be someone you know, someone you made up, or a mixture of both. Either way, he or she represents the type of person who would pick up your book, enjoy reading it, and recommend it to his or her friends.
When you know who your ideal reader is before you write, it’ll be easier to craft your story to meet their wants, needs, and expectations. You’ll be able to create characters, plot events, settings, and themes that will appeal directly to your target audience and that will deliver the emotional experience he or she is looking for.
Editing can be overwhelming, but when you know who you’re writing for—and what those readers want, need, and expect from your story—it makes it a whole lot easier to get rid of any characters, plot events, settings, etc. that won’t appeal to your target audience.
Agents want to know that you (the writer) know exactly who your target audience is, since this is the first step they need to take in figuring out how to reach them. If you can speak knowingly about your target audience, agents will know you’ve put in the work and thought about the marketplace in which your book is about to enter. This will make the process of finding and pitching agents to represent your book that much easier.
If you’re going the route of self-publishing, understanding your target audience will help you figure out which communities you should be reaching out to and how you can get those people interested in your book. This will save you from spinning your wheels and wasting time and energy getting your book in front of people who aren’t going to enjoy your book even if it is well-written.
Hopefully, you can see that no matter where you are in the process, it’s never too late to figure out exactly who would enjoy your story the most. So, without further ado, let’s go over how to create an ideal reader profile for your next novel!
Figuring out who your story’s ideal reader is doesn’t have to be scary or difficult. In fact, it can actually be pretty fun! And once you understand WHO your ideal reader is, you’ll need to consider what else he or she likes to read, and WHY. These questions will also get you thinking about your story’s “comp titles”–which you’ll need if you plan on pitching agents. So, here are some questions to help you get to know your ideal reader—and remember, try to be as specific as possible when answering!
So, there you have it—everything I know about creating an ideal reader profile for your next novel!
Remember—you can’t please everyone with your story. While you can certainly hope that everyone will love your book, you need to start out with a much smaller, more narrowly defined group of people who have certain wants and needs.
There IS a person out there who will love and appreciate your story. And when you know who you’re writing for—while you’re writing—the story you come up with will be that much more intentional and powerful.
👉 Let's discuss in the comments: Did this article help you discover your ideal reader? Who is he or she? Do you feel more confident about writing your story now that you know who your target audience is? Let us know in the comments below!
If you liked the tips in this article, you can get plenty more of them by signing up for my mailing list. Once you sign up, you'll get a new writing or editing tip delivered straight to your inbox each week. You'll also be the first to know about new blog posts, courses, free resources, and more. Unsubscribe at any time!
Enter your name and email address below to sign up! I hate spam and promise to keep your information safe. If you don't like the content headed your way, you can unsubscribe any time!