Who is your reader?

If you just said “everyone,” I have news for you. “Everyone” is not your target audience.

Your book is not for everyone. Stephen King writes for his “Ideal Reader,” which he describes in his amazing book, On Writing. King believes this is the one you want to please above all others. In his case, it’s his wife, Tabitha. He writes to his wife as if she is the only person in the world who will read his stories.

You absolutely have an “ideal reader,” the person you are meant to help. As a writer, it’s your job to be clear on your ideal reader because this is the person who will eventually buy, read, and derive value from your book. And if you don’t do your best to write in a way that speaks directly to them, meets them where they are, helps them resolve their problems, and opens the door to their transformation so they can be who they want to be, they won’t know that your book is for them.

I would wager you have that one person in your target market, aside from your mother, who adores everything you write because it touches or inspires them or gets them so deeply.

When I write, I always think of my friend Margo. She’s a whip-smart business woman, writer and marketer with equal parts analytical brains and emotional intelligence. She thinks deeply and feels deeply, and she has a craving to understand her world and to help other people through her work. Even if Margo never reads it, people like her are my target market, and I know that I will reach those people with my words because they were written for that purpose.

You’ll need to carefully consider who you want to reach with your writing. You’ll want to identify the problems your audience is facing, what solutions they’re seeking, what they like and don’t like, and what they respond to and what they avoid.

Consider the following:

What do they wear? What is their style?

Who are their friends?

Who do they admire? Who do they want to be like?

What books and magazines do they read? Do they prefer audiobook, hardcover, e-book?

Are they married, committed, single, divorced? Do they have kids?

What do they want to do with their lives (or do they have goals at all)?

What are their habits, both good and bad?

What are their greatest fears?

How do they speak? What words do they use? Do they speak multiple languages?

Are they late-risers or early birds?

What kind of food do they like? What kind of experience would they choose to have on a night out on the town?

What do they do for a living, and what do they do for fun?

What values or beliefs guide their decisions?

Having a profile of your ideal reader that is no more than a couple of paragraphs is an easy way to keep them top-of-mind as you write. Take a few moments to answer the questions above now, and your writing will be far more clear and compelling to the people you want to reach.

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