Every author, blog, group, chat, or marketing guru who has an opinion on how to be an indie author states that we (the author) need to know who our ideal reader is. Heck, I don’t even know what my ideal book to read is, how can I know who my ideal reader is?
So I sat down and thought about it and here’s what I’ve come up with to solve my perfect reader dilemma…questions.
Does your book have excessive bad language and/or sexual situations? Are the sexual situations any of the following:
- Multiple partners?
- Daddy issues?
If you answer yes to any of the bulleted situations, you’re writing for an adult. If not, then the jury is still out so let’s continue.
What is the age of your main character?
The odds are if there are children as the protagonist you’re writing either MG (middle grade) or YA (young adult) novels. So your ideal reader is someone younger.
Is there a major romantic component in your story?
Is there excessive violence?
Does your main character have any personal issues that may be difficult for someone under the age of eighteen to understand?
What is your character’s gender? If you didn’t know the character’s gender would the story read the same?
The answers for the Custodian of the Golden Assembly series are:
- Yes, I have bad language in my book. I do not believe it’s excessive, but I do believe it is too much for someone under the age of 16 to read. While I have lots of innuendo about the male body and eye candy’s importance to a female of a certain age, there is only one kiss in the entire novel, so sex is not an issue. Apparently, I’m writing for an adult.
- My main character is forty-four-years-old, so again I’m writing for an adult.
- Yes, there is a romantic component to my story which does become important in later books, so again I am writing for an adult, but romance isn’t exclusively adult in nature. Kids have romance too, and it should be important to YA authors to remember the passion.
- Hmm, excessive violence? My MC threatens a gnome, fights a serial killer, and threatens her ex-husband. I don’t think it’s “excessive.”
- As for the next question, are an addiction to chocolate, being prone to melodrama, and having self-esteem issues challenging for a younger individual to understand? I doubt it.
- Finally, my character’s gender is female (duh), and no, the story wouldn’t read the same if I changed the gender or hid it. Although, I could change the gender of my male and female leads and it would probably still work.
So here’s what I’ve got: I’m writing for an adult.
Well, that’s not much of an ideal reader description. So I go back and look at all my answers, and I realize one thing, the person I’ve written for is me. Seriously, I wrote this book to be read by a fortysomething, divorced, possibly childless woman who believes that life doesn’t end at thirty-five and those women deserve to be respected, honored, revered, and loved for what they bring to the world. This does not mean men won’t enjoy my books. I hope they do, but there are things in my books a man might not appreciate (can you say junk check?), though I hope they’ll try anyway.
Until next time,
V. L. COoke