One of the functions of my Book Blueprint (my invention for authors that identifies & develops a book’s vision, audience, architecture and writing plan) is to identify an author’s target audience. More specifically, your target reader – singular. This means the one person on the planet who needs to read your book more than anyone else.
Why narrow down your target audience so dramatically?
It’s the “spotlight vs. laser beam” theory of audience targeting. Try to write your book to a large crowd of people as your audience and you cast a spotlight over many potential readers, speaking directly to none of them. But when you narrow down your potential readers to a more compact group, that spotlight becomes a single, high-powered laser beam, and in doing so gains impact and intensity.
Which is easier to see from outer space – a spotlight, or the laser beam coming from the top of the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas?
Writing to one ideal reader challenges you to add an extra layer of specificity and intention to your message and how you tell your story. Gaining a thorough understanding of the one person who needs to read your book the most, makes for clearer writing and a more cohesive architecture (reader journey from point A to point B) for your book.
How do you narrow down a wide audience of potential readers to one specific person?
Here’s a character development exercise you can use to identify your reader (and yes fiction authors, you can use to develop your characters!):
- Are men or women the ideal audience for your book?
- Generation/broader age group?
- Now narrow that group down to a 5 year period most applicable to your book.
- Next, pick a number around mid-range as the age of your target reader – i.e. “avatar.”
- For example: Generation X > Age 38-53 > 45.
- This is just one randomly mathematical way of choosing the age of your target reader, especially if you don’t already have a number in mind!
- Where were they born and raised?
- Where do they live now?
- Line of work?
- Marital and family status?
- Ethnicity, religion, spirituality, gender identity?
- Hobbies/leisure activities?
- Challenges they are facing?
- Things they are passionate about?
- Personal and professional goals?
- Any strong beliefs, whether political, religious, or about life in general?
- What is ONE thing about this person that makes them the ideal reader for your book – something about your story and/or message that makes for almost serendipitous alignment?
What additional questions did this exercise spark for you? The better you understand your ideal reader, the better your book will be!
In addition to adding impact through specificity to your book’s message, identifying your “most ideal reader” strengthens your own personal connection to your book as its author and commitment to getting it done. Use your understanding of your ideal reader as motivation to stay plugged into your book project. Picturing your reader and making it about them helps change your internal focus from “I’M writing a book” to “I’m using my story and lessons to help (inspire, educate, entertain) others.”
PS: To learn my entire Book Blueprint process, get my free guide by clicking here, adding the guide to your cart, and entering the coupon code INKFRIENDS!