Monday, February 2, 2015
Who Do You Want To Impress?
I think for lots of us our gut reaction when we're told to "define our audience" is a negative one. We write what we write because we want to write it, and those who like it like it, right? On the one hand, absolutely. I think there is zero point in writing something you're not interested in, especially just for the sake of some hope in mass appeal. If what you're writing isn't interesting to you, it's probably not going to be interesting to your reader.
But still, these are our babies. We nurture them because we love them, and it feels icky when we sort of have to chop off some of the edges to fit them in a pre-defined box. That's not our job, that's the market's job. Our job is just to make art we believe in.
But on the other other hand, we writers are also basically running our own businesses, and no defined audience is a terrible marketing strategy. Clearly we have a dilemma.
I want to get something clear and out of the way: I firmly believe that when we're actually crafting our work, market and mass appeal and all that should be as far from our minds as possible. But then there's all the other things we writers do, like blogging and social media and maybe articles in magazines and things like that. Maybe that's where audience comes in.
Here's what I think: I think there is an easy and natural way for us to define our audience as we go about the business and networking aspects of being a writer. Just ask yourself, who in your life do you care most about impressing?
Like, for reals. Think about it a second. When you post an update on your personal Facebook, whose likes and comments make you most excited? Who do you particularly like making laugh, or being clever with? My own list is pretty varied, and includes relatives, former professors, and kids from my little brothers old high school class who are whip smart and uber-engaged.
Lately I've tried something: When I craft a Facebook status or tweet or blog post or spec article, I think of them. And these are the kinds of people who, in most cases, you hope will read your books anyway.
And really, it kind of makes it easier. I think in a lot of cases, you want to impress certain people because you respect them and share views and opinions. That means that keeping them in mind when you write a blog post helps you focus in on topics and angles. I don't know if its had much impact in terms of numbers, but its made crafting posts and engaging on social media quite a bit easier, and a lot more fun.
What do you think? Do you have a group of people who particularly want to impress, and do you think this strategy would work for you?
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