Monday, November 7, 2011

Writing a novel is literally creating your own business. And that business model has to be treated just like any Fortune 500 business would create their business plan. One of the most important elements of a business plan is defining who the target audience is for the particular product.
So let’s talk about something we all know and understand but don’t always grasp. Target Audience. We all have a target audience that we write for. And, no, no matter how badly we want it to be everyone, that’s never gonna happen, chickypoo!

Why? Because as someone famous (everyone argues about who that exactly was) once said, “You can please ALL of the people SOME of the time, and you can please SOME of the people ALL of the time, but you can’t please ALL of the people ALL of the time.”

First you need to decide what your target audience looks like. A target audience that reads mainly suspense/mystery is not going to be the same target audience that reads Amish fiction, and for the most part, a target audience that adores reading about vampires and werewolves is not going to be the target audience for biblical fiction. 

Ask yourself this: “What kind of audience am I writing for?” “What are they looking for in the books they read?” “What kind of read am I trying to give them?” You can sometimes further define this by using comments you get in reviews. But once you get this defined, you are not going to deviate from the plan.

Are they looking for warm-fuzzies? Or are they looking for a thrilling suspense ride? A friend of mine, Brandilyn Collins, has created a sub-group of her most-likely-reader, the “Big Honkin’ Chickens Club.” They are friends of hers who are too afraid to read her books. This was a great strategy. They were her friends…LOL…but not part of her target audience.

Start with a sentence like, “The perfect reader for my books would like…” Now fill in the blank with several hundred words.

Remember…when someone gives you a bad review, the first thing you must teach yourself to understand is, “Well that person is obviously NOT part of my target audience.” And move on!

Many times too much energy is wasted on lamenting that you can’t be all things to all people. Stop wasting energy that you could be using to write your next great book. Focus on the audience you are gathering!

More on this next time! Later gator!

Bonnie S. Calhoun is the Founder and Publisher of (CFOM) Christian Fiction Online Magazine. She is also the Owner and Director of the (CFBA) Christian Fiction Blog Alliance which is the parent organization for the magazine. And she serves as the current President for (CAN) Christian Authors Network. She is the Northeast Zone Director for (ACFW) American Christian Fiction Writers, and won their Mentor of the Year Award for 2011.

In addition to her passion for spreading the word about Christian fiction, Bonnie is also an author of snarky suspense. Her novel Cooking The Books (A Sloane Templeton Novel) will release from Abingdon Press in April 2012. It is presently available for digital e-reader download if you are a book reviewer. Go to, Abingdon Press as the publisher.

Picture from Andy Eklund's Creative Streak


  1. Welcome, Bonnie!! Thank you for your insight into finding our target audience. Personally, I have a tendency to try and spread my net too wide--try to reach too broad an audience instead of focusing on a particular group.

    Great info!

  2. Bonnie, great advice... but then again, coming from you, of course it is!


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