I hear authors say it all the time: “I write my book for everybody-not just one particular audience.” That’s all fine and well, but the book business is just that; a business. In doing business you have to have a target audience that you start off promoting and marketing to. Once you have saturated your target audience, then you have the bull’s eye affect, where you begin to expand outward into other areas. There is absolutely no shame in my game; I write my books for my sisters. If anyone outside of my target audience wants to pick up my books, I find that to be an awesome blessing. But I want to make sure that my sisters—my target audience—can walk right into the book store and know exactly where to find me. Richard Ridley once said, “Many writers make the mistake of thinking that bigger is better when it comes to defining a book’s target audience. They believe that if a potential reader is simply made aware of their book, then surely they’ll take a chance and buy it. But by choosing this “big pond” approach, those authors are being overlooked, and they’re missing the opportunity to stand out in a smaller pond. You’ll have much better success being a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.”
Yes, all authors would eventually love for everybody to read a copy of their book. But when you sit down to pen a book you have to know who you are penning it for…who you want to read it. Who will understand your words? Who will they resonate with and touch? For me, my target audience is African American women. I used to even put an age limit on it, but when readers as young as thirteen started reaching out to me about how my work has changed and/or saved their life, I stopped doing that. These young thirteen year old readers are the very reason why I’d have to say that authors are role models as well. So what that we don’t get the press that other entertainers such as singers and actors get. So what that even if an award show does have a category for literature, they don’t deem literacy an important enough honor to air on television. People are still watching us…thanks to social media. Everything we think, tweet and eat is being watched. Either folks are going to look down on us, or up to us. I prefer the latter. I know this might sound dramatic and too deep for some, but as an author, my connection with someone could determine whether or not they ever pick up a book to read. I can say this because I spoke at a graduation. Afterward I had a mother of five who was in her thirties purchase one of my books. It was the first book she had ever purchased in her life, so this was a milestone for her. To be a part of a milestone in someone’s life…to make that kind of impact on someone’s life. Do I really have to continue to argue my case???