Friday, November 24, 2006

Writing Tip: Choose Your Readers

New authors are often asked who they think their work will appeal to. "Everyone will like this book," they gush. That is an unfortunate reply.

None of us writes for the whole world. We each have a special group of readers who will read what we write--our ideal audience. Will people from outside this narrow group read your writing? Possibly. But you cannot write for "everyone." Choose your readers, and write for them.

Your readers are key to what you write, especially in nonfiction. They determine the language you'll use, the issues you'll address, the degree of personal or professional tone you will take. For example, if you're writing an article on the influence of Greek in English vocabulary, you will write differently for a group of college professors who are proficient in Greek than you would for a group of primary school students who are just learning about root words and their ilk. If you're writing about motherhood, you will take a different tone if you write for feminists than if you write for homeschool moms--your audience determines how you speak.

If you find that you have trouble focusing in your nonfiction, ask yourself who you're writing for. How can you best help them? What do they need to know? Why are they listening to you?

Write for your readers. It's just good sense.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Inky said...

Good tip! I have found that to be very true. You can't write for everyone. Your writing really will be much better if you focus on who you're writing to and develop a voice best suited to your specific audience. If you don't, your writing just seems generic.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous Rachel Rossano said...

This exactly the point that I was trying to make to Greg last night when he was commenting on the Press Release for Mercenary. He said it wasn't grabbing him. I pointed out that it wasn't really geared to grab him specifically. After all, he is a male engineer who reads mostly nonfiction. The chances that he would pick up my books are very slim. Of course, he is married to me so that makes the chances pretty high. :) He still had some good suggestions. :)

9:27 AM  

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