Your Ideal Reader Practice

I’ve been reading a lot of business blog posts recently. One thing that keeps popping up on nearly every one of them is a simple but powerful practice.

Figuring out your ideal client or customer.

ByRegina talked about it, Lisa Jacobs talked about it.

I’m not going to talk about it, though. Why? Because for the most part we don’t deal with customers. We deal with readers.

Books don’t work like a service or a product. You can’t scan a demographic and write to them. Even if you could, it would be a bad idea. You should write what you want to write, or it’s gonna be DOA anyway.

But these Ideal Customer practices did give me great inspiration. So I decided to make a list for you. It’s an Ideal Reader list. This isn’t designed to help you cater your story to a specific person. Only certain aspects of your writing style, word choice and marketing.

  • What age is your ideal reader? Are they going to be comfortable with, um, adult situations coming up? Are their parents going to lose their minds if they catch them reading cuss words?
  • What education level? Writing to a certain reading or education level is important. While I’m never a fan of dumbing myself down, I also don’t need to use language that is likely to go over most people’s heads. Unless the character who’s speaking would and there’s someone else to explain it. Fun fact, did you know most newspapers in America are written to a 3rd to 5th grade level? True story.
  • Where do they hang out online? Important if you want to do advertising.
  • Where do they hang out in the real world? Important if you want to do advertising that doesn’t involve the internet.
  • What else do they read? Not so you can mimic, so that you can understand.
  • What shows and movies do they like? Same as above..
  • How are they most likely to read your book? So that you can focus your attention. A lot of fantasy readers, I’m finding, like the weight of an actual book. So I need to make sure to advertise that you can get my book in physical form
  • How are they most likely to hear about you? Their friend? Scrolling through social media? Wandering into a coffee shop or book store? You should be where they will see you.

I hope these questions have given you a little more perspective on your ideal reader.

How much do you worry about ideal readers? Is it a concern when you’re writing, or when you’re marketing?

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