Choose Your Audience

Monday, November 21, 2016

When I ask new writers who their audience is, they often say, “everybody.” That would be fine if all people were alike, but they aren’t. In writing, as in speaking, you must write (or speak) to a specific audience. If others enjoy it as well, that’s a bonus. But authors who write sweet romances aren’t going to attract many male readers, and that’s okay.

For the past two months, I have been selfishly aiming my blog posts at an audience of two, Roland and me, to preserve our sailing memories. I’m glad that some of you came along, and I hope you enjoyed the posts. But you weren’t my chosen audience. I made a conscious decision to write for two people.

That’s the point. Every writer should know who he or she is writing for before starting a new project, whether it be a holiday letter, a blog post, or a novel. Choose your audience, and then keep those people in mind as you write. If your holiday letter goes only to close family, maybe they care about the flu that kept you from getting anything done in May. But if it goes to friends and extended family, they probably don’t.

When making your choice, consider the medium as well. Looking back, I realize that blog posts aren’t the best way to preserve memories for such a small audience. So I apologize if I wasted your time.

You don’t need to write for a million people, and it’s okay to be selfish now and then. But be sure you know who you are writing to.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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