Today’s writers require the same focus. You’re often told to write what you know, to share that story burning inside. But who are your readers? Are you trying to reach the right audience?
People relate to pain points (problems) and benefits (what they get out of what you offer). When you think about your story, what were your challenges? How long did they bother you? Why did you seek a solution? Those are the pain points that other readers face. Now think about how you overcame those problems. How did you find the solution? What were your results? Those are the benefits your readers can expect.
When I first started writing I thought I was terrific. I’d read my whole life, so obviously I knew how to write a compelling story. My first three novels were written in record time and I was convinced they were wonderful. Then I joined a critique group and discovered I had a lot to learn about characters, plot, point of view, and conflict. My stories weren’t great. They were just okay. And okay wasn’t going to sell. I needed to connect with my readers’ pain points—characters with flaws, plots with adventure and complications, and lots and lots of conflict. I didn’t know how to create any of that, so I enrolled in writing classes. After several years and some amazing teachers, I honed my skills. And now I can offer other writers the benefits—helping them to accomplish the same thing.
My path has branched over time and I help both fiction and nonfiction writers. Whatever your focus, your goal is to communicate with your readers.
So how do you find your target?
Consider the following questions: How old were you when you faced your problems? Are there other people your age who have the same issues? Is there a different age group that you would rather work with? Where do these people live, work, play? If you help writers, look for writing organizations or meetings. If you write romance, check out the romance clubs and conferences. Look at the events in your city and find the ones that pertain to your subject.
Talk to people in your target audience and ask them about their struggles. Then use those exact words in your book and your marketing materials. The more you identify with your readers, the easier it will be for them to understand your message and connect with you.
Photo by Vladislav Gajic