Who’s Your Audience?

March 10th, 2010 • Kate

pollsSometimes it seems like every query I receive is for the same book — or, more truthfully, the same audience. And I just KNOW that’s not true. For one thing, it seems statistically unlikely, for another, I know that there’s room in publishing for lots of different books, and I’m sure you know that too. But just to settle a bet, I’ve embedded a little poll below.

Considering your current manuscript (either one you’re currently writing, editing, or querying), who do you think is the primary audience? You’ll see I’m not going to let you answer “everyone.” That doesn’t help anyone. I’ve broken the answers down by sex and general age range. Feel free to be more descriptive in the comments — i.e. “I write for the teenage girl audience who loved “Hunger Games” but hates “Twilight.”

I look forward to seeing the results!

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28 Responses to “Who’s Your Audience?”

  1. Jolea Says:

    I'm writing for my son who is 14. There always seem to be plenty of books for my 16 year old daughter but finding great books for my son has always been difficult. He likes action/adventure, mystery, and a little bit of the gory stuff. He really enjoys the Alex Rider series which is what I'm aiming for with my book only in the fantasy genre. So far, he likes what he's read – the highest compliment.

  2. Georgiana Says:

    Current project – for horse crazy girls who like the paranormal, or like being scared, with a dash of history. I'm starting a new project April first that will feature a teen boy given clues to finding a treasure. (That's for Script frenzy. For some reason my scripts tend to have male protags while my novels are more female heavy.)

  3. Kira Says:

    The main audience for my current WIP is my mother – and I'm not just being facetious. It's a much-belated Mother's Day gift I first promised her two years ago. She's what I like to call a "Twilight Evangelist", so the piece I'm working on is something of a Twilight fanfic. She loves it (what she's been able to read of it so far), so I'm happy, even though I'm sometimes embarrassed to admit to writing it.

  4. Molly Says:

    My audience is both myself AND YA teenage girls… I guess it helps that I happen to be both. I'm writing my novel because it applies to me right now, and I love watching the characters live on my computer screen, almost as if I'm not making up their stories, they're simply telling me what to type.

  5. Karen Says:

    My YA contemporary has two 15-year-old boys as main characters, so my intended audience is boys 14+, but girls will also enjoy it. I believe the topic is too mature for a younger audience.

  6. Mike Says:

    Every query you read is for the same audience: you.

  7. Celsie Says:

    My audience is teen girls with a sense of reality and adult women who can think back to their teens without scowling. My characters range from 14 to 23ish. I'll have questions about genre once this sucker's edited and polished.

  8. Ashley Says:

    My audience is every high school girl who has felt frustrated with her lot in life–with the pressures of choosing a college, or carrying on a family heritage. It's for the girls who are unsure about their beauty, their weight, their worth, and for the rest of us who just need a summer pick-me-up. Mainly, though, my audience is myself.

  9. Joe Iriarte Says:

    My audience is boys on the young edge of YA or on the mature edge of MG. I clicked on YA boys.

  10. Krista V. (the forme Says:

    Ooh, tough one. The WIP I'm currently writing has a male teenage protagonist (and as much as I want to believe boys will like it, I can't help but wonder if it's really just a girl book masquerading as a boy book). The WIP I've been querying has a female teenage protagonist. So I went YA teenage girls.

  11. Monica Enderle Pierc Says:

    I love that you did this breakdown. Thank you. It's so easy to lose track of who your audience is when you're so focused on the craft and business of writing.

    I write for women who have outgrown urban fantasy YA (ie. Twilight), and now want a literary story with a strong female lead, emotional bite, and issues they understand (motherhood, self-determination, wants vs. needs). Oh, and my male characters are hella-sexy.

  12. Erin S Says:

    The novel I am currently querying is definitely geared toward a YA female audience. The novel I'm rough-draft writing is somewhere between YA and chick lit. Hmm…where's that "New Adult" genre when we need it? :o)

  13. Lorelie Brown Says:

    Adult women – I write historical romance.

  14. Trish Says:

    As you know, my current project is definitely aimed at an older YA male audience. My 19-year-old son is my beta reader and my goal is to write something he'll want to read.

  15. Andrea Says:

    My audience is MG/Tween girls who like mystery and adventure.

  16. Kimber An Says:

    Well, I have a hard time finding Science Fiction flavored novels for my younger female friends, so they are my audience.

    Of course, I worry the publishing industry doesn't realize they're there and won't give my novels a chance because of it. But, I know they're there. And I love them and I love writing for them, and so that's what I do.

    In the past year, I've read two Science Fiction novels meant for my younger female friends, complete with teenage female protagonists, written by male authors who really tried. But, I sighed when I read them, because they were so close, but I knew they would miss and they did. They were not character-driven enough. In my observation as a book reviewer and as someone who's worked with young people, you've got to have BOTH a great a sci-fi story AND riveting characters with driving relationships.

    Boys have one track minds.

    Girls are natural multi-taskers, which is why they make such great


    There are no girl pilots in my current WIP though. For a change.

  17. Sherri Says:

    My WIP is a fantasy novel with a female protagonist, so although I think a guy might enjoy it, I chose adult females in the poll. Older teenage girls will enjoy it, too, but I could only choose one.

  18. M from M Says:

    I'm writing for adult women — but no graphic sex! And it's not an inspirational, either.

    Marketability factor = ???

  19. Bethany Says:

    I don’t think of literary fiction as being “for” adult women as opposed to men, but…yeah.

  20. Rissa Watkins Says:

    Mine audience is adult women who loved shows like Buffy or well anything Joss has created because he is a genius!

  21. Rissa Watkins Says:

    oops, can I pretend I was typing in a faux German accent and I meant to say mine?

  22. Susan Says:

    I'm writing a historical novel with a little, tiny supernatural element and a lot of wounded soldiers. Who will read it someday, I dunno, but I'm writing it anyhow.

  23. Donna Gambale Says:

    To be as specific as possible: My audience is the 15- to 18-year-old girls whose close-knit group of best friends is most important to them. They're quite content with not having an epic romance in high school… but thoroughly enjoy kissing a crushworthy guy every once in awhile.

    To be more general: My audience wants novels that reflect their lives, preferably with a touch of humor, and are likely fans of Anne Brashares, Sarah Dessen, Meg Cabot, and Lauren Myracle.

  24. Stina Says:

    The poll results were interesting. 50% of those who answered write the same genre as me. Guess that didn't suprise me for several reasons.

  25. Amanda Says:

    I am write for the teenagers who enjoy books like the ones written by David Levithan. The current book I am writing is more for boys that girls, but both could enjoy it.

  26. Silke Says:

    I write for adult women who love Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Kresley Cole… who like paranormals but who are just a little tired of the same type of hero. Women who like men to be dangerous, and who want to branch out a bit and meet… someone, some THING, new.

  27. Stephanie Says:

    While mine is about a teenage girl, I tried to target it towards adult women. It features an older man.

  28. Rachael Says:

    Same as Erin S. I'm on the fence as to whether to call my WIP YA or women's fiction. Sisterhood is the primary theme, and it's targeted for a group somewhere between Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.

    I write honestly about things like sex and drinking without trying to push a lesson (my characters don't have a sip of beer and become alcoholics). I'm sure it'll go over really well with the kind of parents who try to get books banned.