Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Who Is Your Target Audience? Do You Know?

Have you taken the time to figure out exactly who’s your audience? If you’re not published, what readers will you target? If you are published, who do you think will read your books? These are important questions to answer if you’re looking to build your brand. And you should be. You want readers to see your name and know what type of books you write. You want them to know what to expect when they open your novel. But who are your readers?

Please don’t tell me your readers will be anyone who reads, or all romance readers if you write romance. You really need to be more specific. Not all romance novels are written the same. Some are funny and light, while others are dark and scary. Some focus on historical periods and others take place in the future or in some fictional world. Just because these types of books all have romance in common doesn’t mean they share the same readers. In fact, for the most part, they won’t.

That’s why it’s so important for you to recognize who your readers are or will be. You need to know where to focus your marketing efforts. How can you reach your specific target if you don’t know who it is?

I write dark romantic suspense and I realize not all romantic suspense readers will like what I write. Look at the difference between light and dark romantic suspense. Light r/s is when the killer’s POV isn’t presented, and the crime has been committed before we turn the page, so there isn’t much blood, gore, or violence. Dark r/s, as you can imagine, is the opposite. Readers get to see how evil the killer is because they can experience his thoughts through his POV. Depending on the level of darkness of the story, violence, torture, blood, and gore may be shown, not just talked about. Readers of light romantic suspense might be disturbed by the level of violence and creepiness my villains bring to the table. For that reason, it’s very important that I show my cards immediately. I try to start my stories with a dark prologue so readers understand what they’re getting into. I also know that people who love the TV show Criminal Minds will like my books. Readers who enjoy Allison Brennan’s level of dark will feel comfortable with mine.

While the perfectionist in me hasn’t allowed me to send my stories to agents or stop editing my books to death—I’m working on that—I’ve still given this some thought. As a result, I’m going to make some changes to my blog come September. Monday will be all about crimes, murders, serial killers, and the like. I want to attract readers who enjoy this type of information because they are my target audience. Wednesdays will be Writing Wednesdays, so I’ll continue to post writing related material or critiques. I’ll keep Fun Fridays as they are because I’m addicted to those darn puzzles. I’ll post a schedule to remind everyone of these changes as September approaches. For now, enjoy two writing related posts a week and one puzzle post.

What about you? Have you figured out who your readers are? What are you doing about it? How are you targeting them?

Lynnette Labelle


  1. It's all good food for thought-thanks!

  2. Good post and you're right. Knowing your target audience is very important. I write paranormal romance more to the erotic side. I like the dark stuff too.

  3. Great article! As writers we definitely need to know who our target audience is. I write historicals that also work well in women's fiction (but not romance), so I know I'm not completely in the dark when it comes to my target audience.

  4. Jacqueline: :)

    Christine: Yay! We both like the dark side.

    Mary: Good to hear you're aware of your target audience.

    Lynnette Labelle