Do you love every book you’ve ever read? My guess is, not.
You may, like me, not even love every book by your favourite author! And that’s okay (no matter how guilty I sometimes feel about that).
It’s important to remember that you don’t love every book, that not every story you read will draw you in, not every main character’s journey will affect you deeply. And the same can be said for your story.
Can’t Please Everyone
While it might be super awesome if everyone who read an excerpt of our writing, fell instantly in love with the characters, the concept and vowed immediately to buy our books the moment it went on sale.
But that doesn’t happen.
Your story isn’t for everyone and you have to come to terms with that. I am still being approached by new writers asking me to beta read their work.
When I ask “who’s your audience?” and receive “it’ll appeal to everyone”, I back away slowly. Until you know your audience, I’m going to assume I’m not it – it’s better for both of us, believe me!
Harsh as it may be to hear, NO, it will NOT appeal to everyone. Some won’t be interested, some will try it and it just won’t gel for them and others will hate it with a passion.
A Problem With Not Defining Your Audience
Firstly, you will most likely be impaled by the harsh criticism someone will eventually give you.
If you are throwing your story at everyone assuming it will appeal to them all, you probably aren’t ready to receive the criticism that will come when someone who is definitely not your target audience, reads it.
You are going to get bad reviews and harsh criticisms eventually, don’t make it easier by targeting the wrong people right out of the gate.
Secondly, you have to get over yourself. What makes you think your work is so universal?
For example, I’m not a fan, at all, of Stephen King or J K Rowling. There, I said it!
I’m not their audience so their writing style, voice and ideas just don’t work for me. But that’s okay because they know their audience and I’m not it.
Even the biggest names in the creative fields weren’t universally loved.
Elvis was massive, but not everyone loved him. Rembrandt was fiercely talented, not everyone likes his work. No matter what area, even the giants within the field aren’t universally loved by everyone. So you won’t be either.
Thirdly, by assuming everyone will love your stuff, you are failing to market correctly. When you know your target audience, you can find out where they are most likely to be and target them there.
Let’s take social media, different demographics spend their time on different platforms (not fully, there will always be a cross over) but checking the insights and data on each platform will give you an idea who spends their time there the most.
So you could spread yourself thin bombarding all the platforms hoping to catch everyone OR you can define your ideal reader, learn where they spend their time and make a decisive, structured marketing plan to target them.
Take Yourself Seriously
If you want to be an author, to write for more than just a hobby, you have to start treating it like a business. Don’t worry, running a business can be fun (except for tax time!)
Knowing your audience is a biggy, it sets the whole feel and structure of your marketing and remember, marketing starts WELL before you are published! Even when you are still on your first draft, you need to think about marketing.
There’s no point throwing up excerpts of your story in locations where people aren’t interested in that genre, for example.
So take yourself seriously and think of it as a business. Decide where you want to talk about your work, who would be interested and how is the best way to get them excited about your writing.