Who’s My Audience?
Many unsuccessful and minimally successful writers have at least one thing in common, they write for and to themselves. While it’s okay to write for yourself, writing to yourself will greatly limit your potential audience—often to a crowd of one.
It’s been my experience that people don’t want to read or hear me tell them what I want, they want what they want. And what they want is a story that captures their imaginations and satisfies their desires, not mine. The question is not what do I want to write about but to whom do I want to write? I must identify my target readers to have any hope of being read, heard, or published. I must find my audience.
Let’s be clear, our audience doesn't have to be a large group of people. It can be an audience of one. We can write to our spouse, our kids, another relative, a friend, or even a stranger whose character traits we only imagine. But it must be an audience other than ourselves.
When writing to at least one clearly identified person, you’ll find many people can identify with that person. We all have moms and dads, most of us have siblings and other relatives, almost all of us have friends. For example, should you decide to write a story about how a brother and sister interact with one another, your potential readers include children and adults. Write about a married couple and you reduce your potential readership to include only married people and those who are considering marriage. Write About a familiar person or situation, there are people who’ll identify with and read your stories.
You may choose to write about someone or something you don’t know. This can be fun. When writing about an unknown someone—a character in your imagination—you become the creator. You get to invent your character’s personality traits and social environment. If it’s an unfamiliar subject, you’ll enjoy the pleasure of researching that subject or creating it. In both situations, you’ll engage others who share the same interest. Do it well enough, and you’ll have a very large audience.
The point is, if you write to someone other than yourself, you increase your audience of one to thousands, or even millions of readers who will relate to, and buy, your story.