Author, know your reader

I’ve been reading a bit about the importance of knowing my target audience. Naturally, I want the whole world to read and love my books, but that’s simply not practical.

Although I’m sure anyone who reads my work will become a fan for life, I can’t afford to make the whole planet aware of what I have published. My promotional budget is limited, so it only makes sense to use my resources to target the people who are most likely to appreciate what I write. Who, then, is my target reader?

I write contemporary mystery/thrillers featuring mature women with a Christian worldview. Fans of lusty historical romances will probably not be satisfied with my books. Being a woman of a certain age, I tend to write for women with a common cultural and generational frame of reference. Also, while I do not dabble in the paranormal in my writing,  I am convinced my readers and I have at least two supernatural experiences in common.

The first of these paranormal incidents happened on my fiftieth birthday when I became invisible. I was shocked and dismayed, initially, but eventually learned to take advantage of my ability to blend into the background to surprise those who underestimated me.

The second other-worldly phenomenon came to my attention gradually. Someone would snap a photo of me, alone or in a group, but when I looked at the picture I noticed someone had stepped in front of me just as the shutter clicked. No one else seemed to have noticed, but the woman in the photo was obviously years older and at least a few pounds heavier than I, although she was spry enough to jump in and out of the focus in the blink of an eye. Recently, this phantasm has taken to stalking me and jumping in front of me when I look in a mirror, too. I don’t think this wraith is dangerous, simply annoying.

Talking with some of my contemporaries, I’ve discovered they have these phantoms of their own, so I’ve come to believe most of my target audience share these experiences, even though they are reluctant to speak of it.

I still haven’t figured out how to use this knowledge in my promotions, but when I do, the top of the best-seller list will be all mine.


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