How to Succeed as an Author: Know You Audience

Posted on August 14, 2013



You can have the most brilliant, unique book concept ever known to man, but if you do not know how to successfully develop that concept into a good book, your efforts to share your work will fall flat. Think about it. When you pick up a book, you expect the author to know you to a certain extent, don’t you? You may have a subconscious expectation, but it is still there. For instance, if you are grabbing an Agatha Christie mystery for leisure reading, you anticipate a fun, thrilling read—not one in which you will stumble over complex words or lengthy paragraphs such as those found in Moby Dick. It only makes sense that if you want to be successful as an author, you should make sure you take the time to get to know your audience, as well. Put yourself in their shoes as you develop your book.

Know what they read. So, you have an idea. Great. Now it’s time to think about what genre your book concepts falls into. Some are easy: is it fiction or nonfiction? Children, young adult, or adult? Mystery or biographical? As you select these broader categories, make sure you are also aware of the many sub-genres out there. For instance, futuristic dystopian novels are extremely popular these days in the young adult fiction category—this is a very specific genre with certain expectations and an established audience. Self-help and how-to books are tried and true categories under the “nonfiction” selection, and there are probably hundreds of books already out there dealing with your chosen subject.

Once you have chosen your genre—and, therefore, your audience—familiarize yourself with current books within it. What is your audience likely reading right now? How will your book be different from what’s already out there? In this way, you can find your niche by ensuring that your book is relevant enough to cater to your audience, similar enough to other good books to capture their attention, yet unique enough to stand out, to be your own idea and worth your and your readers’ time and energy.

Know how they read. Now that you know where your book will fit into the larger picture and you are familiar with the type of reader you will draw, take time to think about and research more about them. Here’s where that idea of style comes back into play. The more complex vocabulary you might use for that historical book wouldn’t really be appropriate for the young adult dystopian readers. A conversational tone for one piece or genre may not work as well for another. Determine what speaks to your readers, and utilize that method to your advantage.

Another aspect of your readers’ preferred style to take into consideration is the format of the books they like to read. Will they be reading your book on a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone? Or is your audience a group of people that would prefer to have hard copies your book decorating their coffee tables? Perhaps your chosen genre and audience is a mixed assortment and it would be worthwhile to invest in both formats for your piece. Whatever the case, knowing what your audience prefers is vital for success.

Know why they read. In many cases, the answer is simple enough, especially if your chosen genre is fiction. In this instance, your readers’ top reason for reading this genre—and therefore your book—will most likely be entertainment. But there can be numerous other motivations to read, and this goes for nonfiction and fiction readers alike. Your audience might also want to learn or broaden their knowledge of a particular subject. In this case, readers are going to expect a well-researched, informative book from you. Maybe they want more than knowledge—they may be searching for tips and techniques to do something or improve how they do something. And these are just a few reasons. The list can go on and on. Each reader’s personal motivations may be different, but select a particular genre and speak to many different readers about why they like that genre, and you’re bound to see a trend. Make sure, fictional or nonfictional, that your book delivers what your readers want.

So, have a great idea? Perfect. All you need to do is make sure that you present it in a manner suitable for your readers, and you’ll soon have a great book. Your audience is already out there, waiting for you to deliver it to their eagerly awaiting hands (or e-readers). 

Rachel Schade, Writer, Editor, and Publishing Coordinator, Asta Publications 

Asta Publications has a long history of helping writers tell their stories and get published. Since 2004, Asta Publications has helped hundreds of authors bring their book concepts to life and we are ready to help you too! Our dedication to our authors is unmatched. We deliver first-class products and services that are accurate, high quality, and exceed our authors’ expectations.

Posted in: Publishing