Recently the term "target audience" came into my life, a term that, for me, had previously only been found in the now extinct text books of my Business Marketing degree program. I had been discussing publishing, specifically self-publishing, with an accomplished author that I know and she asked me about my target audience. I must confess, my mind went completely blank for a moment before I managed to stutter her question back to her as if I hadn't understood her the first time. I could hear her smiling through the phone and she confirmed that had been her question and asked again. My reply? I had written a novel I hoped everyone would read and enjoy.
Again, I could hear her smile. She very kindly, and patiently, explained that in her experience that was the biggest mistake authors made when writing or marketing their work, they had too general of an audience. She assured me if I focused on a narrower, target audience, the quality would be better and other audiences would be drawn to the work. I have to admit, the idea rolled about in my mind long after the conversation was concluded. The more I thought about it the more wisdom I could find in her suggestion. After all, I wanted to write a quality novel, one that was fascinating and enthralling to everyone who picked it up, not one they felt unfulfilled or talked down to in.
In addition, the idea of narrowing my marketing down to a smaller group appealed immensely. At that point I was going crazy trying to get my book anywhere and everywhere so that people could find it, with little luck. The idea of narrowing it down and focusing more on a select group made my marketing not only more efficient, but of a much greater quality, something that was beneficial for me and my readers.
Now, as I am starting my third novel, and working on a children's book as well, I find that my target audience almost whispers to me as I work, encouraging me and guiding me as I write, bringing forth a much richer piece of work, more interesting to me and my readers alike.