Author Essential Question:
Who’s in Your Mind When You Write?
Over the 20 years I’ve worked with authors … the 40 years I’ve been writing and encouraging others to write and publish, it was—and still is—interesting to hear many authors stumble when asked three simple questions:
- Who is your book for?
- What’s your target market?
- Can you summarize your book in less than 30 seconds?
And too many couldn’t respond with clarity, or quickly. And now … it’s not 30 seconds … it’s 15 seconds. Oh, they loved the idea and the art of writing. But, really, “You want me to tell you who is supposed to be reading, buying my book? Me?”
Why yes, that’s exactly what I’m asking … and expect YOU to be able to give a quick and clear response that will get my attention. Can you?
The very first step toward Author Success is to be clear and succinct about who, and what, your reading audience is. The kiss of book death is the response: everybody— It is not everybody.
Are you writing about women?
For women? Yikes, it’s a basic category, but it is not just all women (or men or children, et cetera.)—that’s a HUGE ding.
It may be for women … but which women? Young women? Women over 50? Women who have the child-bearing clock ticking? Divorced women? Working women? Women who homeschool their children? Women who work at nickel and dime jobs? Women who have had cancer? Women who have had a specific type of cancer? Women who are single and loving it? Women who are single and hating it? Women who are serial lovers? Women who have affairs (or want to)? Women who work in health care? Women who were wild in college? Women who were abused? Women who have deep secrets? Women who are getting married? Women who want to get married? Women who don’t want to marry? Women who want to be kept? Women who are addicted … and to what? Women who were raised in cults? Women who just want to have fun? Women who are hoarders? Women who hate cooking? Women who credit card binge? Women who …
You get the picture. Dive down. Drill deeply. Know who you are writing for to the core of his, her, their fiber. What nuances; what hiccups; what the beliefs are. Imagine having your favorite beverage with them. Who are they; what are they; what are they hopes, dreams, fears; what is their background; what brings them to your topic; what will your book do for them?
I’m not a reader of horror, but I am a huge fan of Stephen King. His book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, is one that I routinely recommend to all of my clients. Some of my favorite words that’s I’ve saved over the years that he wrote:
”If a book is not alive in the writer’s mind, it is as dead as year-old horseshit.”
Here’s my take:
If the reader for the book is not alive in the author’s mind, it’s yesterday’s poop.
With clarity, your writing, and your marketing, is so much easier. And that’s a very good thing. Let’s get your author and pitching act together. What say you?
Dr. Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. Often, she must roll up her writing sleeves and become a Book Doctor, juicing up storylines and author words. She empowers authors and works directly with authors who want to be seriously successful and has been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the ’80s. Judith is the author of 44 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, Snappy Sassy Salty: Success for Authors and Writers, and How to Create a Million Dollar Speech. Her personal memoir When God Says NO-Revealing the YES When Adversity and Loss Are Present is a #1 bestseller on Amazon and her historical fiction debut Secret Journey. Collectively, her books have earned over 45 book awards. Judith speaks throughout the year at publishing conferences.
Throughout the year, she holds Judith Briles Book Unplugged in-person and online experiences: Publishing, Speaking, Marketing, and Social Media. All are two-day intensives limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. Join Judith live for the “AuthorU-Your Guide to Book Publishing” podcast on the Toginet Radio Network HERE.
Follow @AuthorUYOUBooks and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorYOU, and join the Facebook group Book Publishing with The Book Shepherd. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact her.
©2023 Judith Briles – The Book Shepherd™ All Rights Reserved.