As a writer, you always need to ask yourself two questions:
‘Who is it for‘ and ‘What’s it for‘?
Disclaimer: That’s not something I famously invented. These are the principals Seth Godin often advocates in his work and I completely agree with him on this point.
I’ve already touched this matter in my failed Outlining series, The Ideal Reader, where stressed out that you need to figure out who your ideal reader is before even starting to think about a novel idea.
Who is it for?
You can’t write to everybody and expect everybody to love your writing. It just doesn’t work that way. Simply check any book on Amazon. They all have negative reviews.
You must pick your own audience.
You can pick them by profession or interests. Do you want to write to other writers? Maybe fitness enthusiasts? or Travelers? Creators? Lawyers? Barbecue fans? Lego collectors?
Maybe you also want to pick an age group and narrow your audience further? Teenagers? Young Adults? Middle-aged population? Seniors?
My fiction writing and my blogging differ in styles and they are aimed at different audiences.
While my fiction is mainly aimed at murder mystery thriller readers my blog is aimed at writers, mainly novelists, especially beginners with little or no experience.
It doesn’t mean that these two groups can’t overlap but I treat them as two separate groups.
Also, it doesn’t have to mean that you, as someone who is not a beginner or maybe not even a writer, won’t find anything useful here but it’s simply not aimed at you.
What’s it for?
Your writing needs to have a purpose. It needs to add value to your reader’s life. Otherwise, it will be waste of both, yours and your reader’s time.
Is it informative? Educational? Entertaining? Motivational? Inspirational? Or, a mix of these or any other values. And, most importantly, what is your reader going to gain from your piece?
As a blogger, I want to help novelists to start and finish their first novel, which is a huge and a crucial step forward in any writer’s career and I also want to motivate writers in trouble by showing that they are not alone on their journey.
As a fictional writer, I want to provide my readers with an experience of marginal behavior and the mark which that behavior leaves on the micro and macro society and I want all of that shaped in a compelling and entertaining story.
Your purpose will probably be entirely different but it’s important that you’re aware of it.
Three types of non-ideal readers
- They don’t belong to your target group and they find your writing useful. – Good. You should be glad. It’s a plus for both you.
- They belong to your target group and they find your material useless. – In that case, the most important thing is not to get discouraged. You should try harder or come in peace with the fact that you can’t help everyone.
- They don’t belong to your group, and they find your material useless. – Simply say:
“I’m sorry; it’s not for you; feel free to unsubscribe from my mailing list, unfollow me; there won’t be any harm done”.
Only make promises which you can keep
I wish I could teach you how to write a prize-winning novel, but I can’t; the same applies to a bestselling novel, classic novel, and even finding a literary agent. I’ve accomplished none of these and I won’t talk about that.
The one thing I’m good at is getting my butt into the chair and writing. That’s what I can teach you.
Once I gain a new skill or achieve something new, I will be glad to share that with you, as well.
I can also promise you that when you get a response from a human being who was deeply touched by your work, whose perspective you’ve changed, and who is thankful for the hard work which you do, it makes you feel good and no fake 100,000 Facebook followers or boosted page views can replace that feeling.