The Elusive Perfect Reader
One of the first questions you’ll hear from a publisher, writing coach, or interviewer is, “Who should read your book?”
Most of us want to say, “Everyone!”
While you probably do have information in your book that will help many people, it is highly unlikely that everyone in the world will need to read it. Drat!
When you take time to get very clear on the characteristics, needs, and desires of a specific group of reader, you’ll be able to write your book faster and more effectively. Plus, you’ll be much more successful in your book marketing efforts.
Let’s start with a few examples of clear descriptions of perfect readers:
- Women aged 40-60 who have children and aging parents
- Divorced fathers who share custody of their children
- High school students who want to get into an ivy league university
- Young adults aged 20-30 who left organized religion but still seek spiritual connection
- Corporate Presidents or Vice Presidents who plan to retire in the next five years
- Women in their twenties with an eating disorder
- Parents of grade school children who act out in school
Notice how each description brings a specific person to your mind? As you read them, you may have pictured a friend, relative or acquaintance that fit that description perfectly.
Now, it’s your turn to describe your perfect reader. Use these consider these key areas:
- Demographics: age, gender, marital status, profession, and socio-economic status
- Challenges and stressors your reader faces that cause her to worry or look for help in a book
- Hopes, dreams, and goals
- Personality style- does he like facts and statistics or stories and humor?
- Time management- is she too busy to read long chapters?
- Current information gathering practices- does he read, look on line, go to seminars, take classes or depend on others for new information?
- Fears-this is one the most important area to discover. Your book must provide a solution to a fear or group of fears if it is to really help your readers thrive
You will continue to refine your definition of your perfect reader as you write and your book. One of the best ways to do this is to teach some classes and see what kinds of people attend and resonate with your material. If you don’t enjoy teaching, notice the kinds of people who visit your website or comment on your blog.
The more you study and learn about your ideal reader, the more targeted you can make your book. Real people read books. When you can capture the essence of the perfect reader for your book, you are one step closer to becoming a successful author!
Go ahead and post a description of your ideal reader below in the comments section. It does not have to be perfect; just write what comes to you today as a first step.