Targeting Your Audience, Part 1

My first full length novel was named TEARS, and I released it in the summer of 2011. However, when I wrote it, I was still discovering my style, still learning and developing as a writer. I also hadn’t yet come to understand what people wanted in a book.

So I thought I'd share with you what I learned from the experience.

Mistakes I made:

1. I thought I should be writing YA. WHY? I have no idea. I just made the assumption without really understanding myself or what I love to read.

2. Someone told me that the magical age for a YA character was 16. So I made Jadon 16 and her younger sister Lelea 14. But Lelea was really the main character, and my story was not suited for a 14-year-old audience.

3. I really should have been writing New Adult. My mind and my style suit it much better. Since I read YA, NA, and adult books, it makes sense that I should write NA as being the middle ground between YA and adult.

4. I hadn’t truly integrated myself into the online book community, so I was out of touch with all the wonderful people who love books and chat on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter about the awesome books that are coming out.

You know what? It’s okay to make mistakes. I learned so much by floundering for the first few years of my writing career. Now I not only know what to do right. I know what not to do too.

How to avoid those same mistakes:

1. To target your audience, you need to read and read and read and read and read and read and read and read!!! Then read some more. Read lots of different genres for lots of different age groups and find out what you like best.

2. Then you need to write and write and write and write and write and write and write. I suggest short stories in lots of different genres with lots of different age groups. Short stories give you a chance to try out something without giving it a long-term commitment. You’ll discover what you’re most comfortable with.

3. And while writing short stories, you’ll also learn how to craft all the elements in a story on a small scale. If you can perfect all the story elements into a short story, you’ll be really good at the longer stories. You’ll know you’re ready to write novels once your readers start saying “I WANT MORE!” rather than “THIS NEEDS WORK!”

4. Connect with all those book lovers on the internet! Read blogs. Make friends on Facebook. Join Goodreads. Best of all, become one of those BOOK LOVIN’ LADIES who can’t stop talking about the awesome books they’ve read!

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