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How do I know what target group I am writing for?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by timtim, Dec 16, 2015.

  1. timtim

    timtim Dreamer

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    I have several stories with maps that seem to me to be way to young for mg and another very complicated work with world building that I am not sure of. How does one know their target group?
     
  2. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    This is an interesting question. I don't know how to answer it other than with what I do.

    Everything I write is for a target group. Crossed Genres magazine wants a LGBT character done in a respectful way? Done.

    My principal wants a report for the board on reading targets for the school and achievement rates? Done.

    My 7th graders want a script for the school Christmas play that is funny, slightly edgy, and uses current events? Done.

    My 4 year old wants bedtime stories about a boy like him who goes on action packed adventures, usually involving pirates or bandits, with a moral at the end.

    The content of each peice of writing, including the vocabulary and presentation, change depending on who I'm writing for.

    My current wip started as a typical 17th c pirate adventure geared to 14-18 year olds with a heavy theme of slavery in America. I was told by some that it was not right for the age range, plus 14-18 year olds are not really into pirate stories. Pirates of the Caribbean drained that well.

    So I changed my focus to a time traveling pirate living in the New York subway, gathering homeless at risk youth to join his crew. The tone of the story is now geared towards the 8-13 year old Percy Jackson crew, who are still interested in pirate stories and has a modern Peter Pan type theme.

    Because of my audience, there is a lot of action, easy vocabulary, no blood or excessive violence, lots of magic and mystery, and themes geared to children (home, family, hope, having faith in your dreams arc.)

    So my suggestion would be talk to people about your idea and find out where you think it might fit? Who might best enjoy a story like yours, then write to that audience.

    I hope that was helpful :)
     
    arboriad and Ireth like this.
  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    The simple answer is to write your first book and listen to your readers to see who they are before you write the next one.

    If you want a more moderate approach, you can assume that your readers are reflective of your primary characters. If your MC is 16, you're writing for Young Adults. If your MC is a nerd, and the best friend is a jock, then you're writing for nerds first and jocks second. So make your characters likable and different and reflective of society, and you'll reach the most readers.

    But if you want the full-throttled advanced target marketing approach, you have to understand that nobody cares if you have a jock because (presumably, for the sake of a point) jocks don't read fantasy books by unknown authors at the very bottom of the Amazon sales list. Who does? That's the make-or-break question. You have to have some break out success with that small group before anyone else will look at you. You can either have a ready-made audience eager to read you because of things you've done in the past (either you do or you don't), or you can check in on the fan sites and read all about the types of stories that do well in fan communities. But even that can get misleading and confusing and lead you down all sorts of rabbit holes that kill your reason for writing to begin with.

    So IMO, look at the crux of what you want to write. The heart of it. What are you most hyped about? Consider that your baby. Build it up in all its awesomeness. Either it'll be good enough or it isn't. But then mix up your characters as much as you can without hurting that baby, and try to do right by the audiences those characters represent.
     
  4. timtim

    timtim Dreamer

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    Thank you for the advice. I have an idea that might work. I have friends at my local library which is run by real librarians who love their jobs. Maybe I will let them read the work and give me their opinion. They have reading groups from the school that come through all the time they read new works to. What do ya think, bad idea or good?
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
  5. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    Good. I would be happy to take a look at it too if you want to pm me. I could give you suggestions on where I think it might fit and why.
     
  6. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

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    For a fast lay of the land go to book stores, libraries or online and see where they place books similar to yours. Compare the genre, length and style.
     
  7. timtim

    timtim Dreamer

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    I know this sounds stupid but what does pm me mean?
     
  8. timtim

    timtim Dreamer

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    Yeah, I have been doing this a lot lately. Especially at the library. Our librarians are very helpful.
     
  9. timtim

    timtim Dreamer

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    Where would be the best section in mythicscribes to post excerpts to get feedback and is this allowed for a newby?
     
  10. Heliotrope

    Heliotrope Staff Article Team

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    The showcase is where you want to post stuff, and new members are absolutely allowed to post.
     
  11. timtim

    timtim Dreamer

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    How do I pm you?
     
  12. Brian G Turner

    Brian G Turner Scribe

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    You need to ensure that you're well read in the genre you're writing for, and learn to be able to make your own opinion on this rather than rely on other people's.

    It's just part of the writing journey, but one you'll almost certainly need to travel.
     
    Mythopoet likes this.
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