How To Write For A Specific Audience — And Why You Need To

June 21, 20225 min. Read

Writing for a specific audience

Writers need readers. Your book audience determines the book’s success. They complete the journey you start when you write and publish. They even become your community, engaging with you, your book, and anything you write in the future.

If you want to find and connect with your readers, you need to write for them. The best book marketing strategies start with a book that sells itself. No matter where you are in the writing process, it’s time to identify your readers and craft a book that speaks to them.

Understanding Your Book Audience

All book publishing and book marketing is essentially a matchmaking process. Readers and authors look for one another. There’s often some flirting with multiple options before readers commit to reading your book in full.

When you understand your audience, you know what they want and how that relates to what you offer. It helps you make choices about genres, topics, and structures. This is where you ask yourself what you should cover and what you should leave out.

It also helps you develop your voice. Imagine someone is listening to what you say. You’ll, consequently, write more naturally, showcasing your expertise or personality.

Identifying Your Audience

You write because you have something to say or a story to tell. You have or want to find a big, book-worthy idea. This kernel is wrapped up in a book genre and an audience demographic.


First question: are you writing fiction or nonfiction? Readers pick up novels for different reasons than they pick up books on business or collections of essays.

Once you’ve made this initial distinction, refine it. Genre is the single most important factor for book buying. People are more likely to branch out and try new authors than to follow authors they like into genres they don’t.

Bestselling fiction genres for adults include:

  • Romance
  • Mystery
  • Thriller
  • Fantasy
  • Science fiction
  • Historical
  • Literary
  • Horror

Novels can navigate between two or more genres. These categories also serve as the heading for a long list of subgenres. The more specific you can be, the better.

Nonfiction genres include:

  • Business
  • Religion, philosophy, and spirituality
  • Self-help and wellness
  • Humor
  • Popular history
  • Popular science
  • Essays
  • How-to guides
  • Cookbooks
  • Biography, autobiography, and memoir

The list goes on, and you can blend nonfiction genres as well as fiction ones. But always know your primary category. If your book were in a bookstore, where would it be shelved? What comparable titles is it most similar to?

You should also know the conventions of your genre. These are the expectations that readers bring to your text. You can challenge and break those conventions, but you should always have a good reason for doing so.

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Who is going to read your book? Imagine your ideal reader. How old are they? What are their backgrounds and interests?

If you’re writing for younger audiences, you’ll need to identify your book by its level.

  • Young adult
  • Middle grade
  • Children’s literature

Even if writing for adults, you should clarify the age range in which the book will be most popular.

Other factors you might take into consideration are:

  • Education level
  • Worldview
  • Occupation
  • Gender identity and sexual orientation
  • Etc.

Depending on the type of book you write, different factors may be relevant.

Writing for Your Audience

Once you’ve identified your audience, you want to keep them in mind as you write your book. You’ll also think about your target audience while editing — both on your own and with book editing services.

Your audience should influence multiple aspects of your book.


Why is John or Jane Doe going to pick up your book? What do they expect to get from it?

People read fiction because they want to be entertained, challenged, or moved. Nonfiction audiences often expect to learn something or engage with a certain personality.

Give your audience what they want.


Your audience affects your humor, vocabulary, and rhythm. You want to write a highly readable book they will enjoy.

If writing fiction, you also need to understand the knowledge base and language of your characters. Being able to enter into that mindset allows you to create believable, compelling characters.


Readers want to engage with relatable characters or approach an intimidating topic through a relatable intermediary.

What does your audience want to read about? What would they find off-putting or inappropriate? These desires should inform your plot or topic coverage.

Readers also bring certain backgrounds to a text. What do you need to explain, and what can you assume? Writing for a general audience requires different skills and choices than writing for specialists.

Book Marketing for Your Audience

Your audience influences your book publishing and book marketing as well. For example, you might want to consider your demographic’s reading practices when deciding whether or not to offer a print version.

As for marketing, audience awareness should help you develop your platform as an author and communicate with your following. It’ll tell you where you need to be present and how to make yourself appealing to potential fans.

Your Author Platform

Your author platform is your total reach and influence as an author. Where can — and do — people find you?

Consider where your readers spend their time as you decide which outlets to prioritize. Your platform may include:

  • A dedicated website
  • Amazon and Goodreads pages
  • Social media accounts
  • Articles published for other sites
  • A press release and press outreach

Customize your strategy for your readership and your personality. Book promotion takes time. Ask yourself what you can realistically maintain and what sorts of reader outreach will be most fulfilling for you.

Your Team

Finding your audience is neither easy nor quick. Why not give yourself a leg up with experts who can promote you with maximum effect and efficiency?

Palmetto book marketing services can help you with everything from the jacket copy to the press release to all kinds of media outreach. Let us use our networks to support and grow yours.

Your audience is waiting. Together, we can find it.

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