Writing: Audience

This is something I think about professionally more than as a writer. As a writer, I really have an audience of one: me.  But it IS something I have thought about. It IS something I circle back to on occasion.

You see, I learned in late high school/early college that the top two selling genres are (in order) Romance and Horror. These are my worst/least favorite genres to write. Hell, I can barely read them.

I would love to be a world-famous J.K. Rowling/Steven King sort of author. Household name. Comfortable income from writing & movie deals. See people in cosplay as my characters & creations. Who wouldn’t? But I decided a long time ago that fame & fortune shouldn’t be my focus. When I try to write “to” or “for” an audience, I usually end up hating the novel I’m working on. Not the content per say, but the whole project.

Audience is an after-thought to the writing. I want readers to follow my world, my characters & my journey. But I only do that AFTER I wrote what I want to read. First, I write the story I want to write. THEN I figure out (a) who my audience may be (who might actually enjoy this) and (b) edit to see if I can make it successful for that audience.

The other thing I have to remind myself is that old adage, “you can’t make all the people happy all of the time.” I may not write a book that everyone loves. I probably won’t (has anyone ever done that?) And if I spend too much time thinking about how to make everyone happy – I end up making no one (including myself!) happy. I end up in this spiral of competing audience demands that are impossible to all meet.

Because people are different – and that is ok. In fact it’s awesome. So I pick one person, me and I write to her. Then I consider who else might enjoy this and try to make sure they know what they need to so they can enjoy it as much as my original audience. I doubt I can do that, after all – my original audience knows all the secret workings of the world that I may not share with any other audience.



5 thoughts on “Writing: Audience”

  1. Great post, and so true. That’s the only way to do it, in my opinion. You can write to make money, or you can write to create art (and it might still make money). It’s the same with making movies. If every movie was made just with being popular in mind, we’d end up with nothing but transformers and superhero movies.


  2. I find that your preferred approach resonates with my own. What caught my attention was your little anecdote on letting the reader know what they need to understand your world. I find that to be the most difficult aspect in writing for most people. The explainations can be like adding sugar and cream to a coffee. Some people just like it black, others need for you to really detail it out for them. That’s where I find my true audience. How much imagination do they have and how much do I really need to spell out for them?


    1. Great illustration of the idea. And why you CAN’T make everyone happy all the time – if you serve it black, some people will find it way too bitter, but if you add ALL the sugar & creme & flavorings, some people will hate that too.


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