Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

I am the reader I was writing for. There were stories I wanted to read and couldn’t find, so I wrote them. The dichotomy of this is that I always wanted to reach a large readership and make a living by writing, so it would have been more practical to write books that a large number of people would like. To be honest, though, I don’t like what the majority of readers like, so it would be impossible for me to write such a book. At least, if I write for myself, I know that one person will like the book. But I’m lucky — I’ve found others who like my books.

Here are some responses from other authors about the particular kind of reader they are trying to reach. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .

From an interview with Alan Place, Author of “Pat Canella: The Dockland Murders”

I am not writing to any particular readers as my works cross genres. I think if you write to a type of reader you raise the chance of missing your target. Take Pat Canella, is she for the Mike Hammer fans, is she a ghost story or is she ladies who want a strong female lead?. OR is she all to everybody?

From an interview with Chuck Barrett, Author of “The Toymaker”

Absolutely. I like to write what I like to read—thrillers, with a touch of mystery thrown in just to keep the reader off balance…but enthralled. I like when a writer throws me a curve ball, so in like fashion, I throw a few myself.

From an interview with J. Conrad Guest, Author of One Hot January

The reader I wish to reach seeks something a little different—something that combines or mixes genres. A reader who enjoys the turn of a phrase, who believes how a story is told is as important as the story itself. I hope my readers remember the stories I tell long after they’ve closed the cover for the last time.

From an interview with Sandy Nathan, Author of Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Yes. I write for readers who are interested in making a difference and growing personally and spiritually. My readers also want a well written, fast paced, and extraordinary read that takes them to places they never imagined.

What about you? Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?

(If you’d like me to interview you, please check out my author questionnaire and follow the instruction.)

4 Responses to “Are you writing to reach a particular kind of reader?”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I like Anne Rice, Stephen King, and James Patterson, so I’m writing to that segment of the population who enjoy their work. However, I also write stories I would enjoy.

  2. Kathy Says:

    I totally agree with your first paragraph and am so thankful for every reader who enjoys my books!

  3. jeffo Says:

    I don’t really know who it is I’m aiming for. There’s a particular story in my head that I want to tell, and I have a particular way of telling it. It’s not until I’ve finished writing it and I’m trying to shop it to an agent/publisher that I think, “Who wants to read this? Who would like it?”

  4. ROD MARSDEN Says:

    I like dark fantasy so I suppose I am writing mainly for people who pick up and read dark fantasy.

    I wanted to tell readers what it was like to work in an office in the mid-1990s with political correctness nipping at your heels while you are trying to get work done. I figured that there were a lot of people in that particular barbed wire canoe back then as there probably are now. And so with Desk Job I was writing for them to let them know they weren’t alone in facing the absurdities of office life not as it possibly should be but as it was engineered to be.

    I also figured that in saluting Lewis Carroll in my own way I would open up the book to a wider audience. Lewis Carroll in the Alice books wrote about the absurdities of his day and had fun doing so hence there is a connection.

    One of my favourite writers is discworld creator, Terry Pratchett. Everything he writes is a send up of the madness of our world and he does it very tongue-in-cheek. It is very much a British tradition I love very much. In this same vain you have P.G. Wodehouse (Jeeves), Evelyn Waugh, and Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Possibly the person who kicked all this off was the author of Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathan Swift. And yes, Lewis Carroll in his own way does fit in here as I hope I am worthy of doing.

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