Monday, April 24, 2017

Know Your Audience

A friend and I were discussing why some of our favorite retailers have lost our business. We came to the conclusion that they didn't pay attention to what their customers wanted. They changed their marketing strategy and antagonized their most important resource: buyers.

How did they do this? Where I live, there's a strong conservative mindset. We also have many people over the age of 50. It's not that we don't want to buy at that store. The store doesn't have what we want. Seeing racks and racks of extremely short dresses does not attract our attention. Both of the stores we discussed also have rewards programs that leave much to be desired.

While we'd all like to think of writing as a purely creative endeavor, we cannot ignore the business side. My books (The Moses Conspiracy, The Scent of Fear, Out of The Mist, and The Christmas Wish) have strong elements of suspense. It's what my audience expects when they pick up one of my books.

In the Christian market, there are certain constraints, ones I welcome and embrace. Christian publishers have strict guidelines. However, with many writers self-publishing, they can do whatever they want. Yet, if a reader expects a clean story from an author they know and they get a nasty surprise, they'll feel betrayed. They might come back a time or two and check out new titles, but they'll eventually walk away if they're continually disappointed.

There's a struggle between writers and publishers on how much to push against Christian guidelines. I believe the decline in the number of Christian fiction titles has a lot to do with what our audience wants and expects when they pick up a book - a clean story, a strong spiritual thread, and quality writing.

Writers and Readers: What are your thoughts on knowing your audience?

Photo Credit:  Kimberlee Kessler


Karen Lange said...

You just never know where a blog post idea might come from, do you? :) I agree, knowing your audience is vital to the success of any venture, whether it be a book, store, etc. Have a great week! :)

quietspirit said...

Susan: I agree with you. There is a grocery store that we used to shop at ALL the time. They remodeled their store. In the process, they moved the customer service are clear across the store, making it harder to get to. I have not read many of the authors I used to read due to the constraint of time. I don't seem to find the time to even get to the library. But, I did stop reading one of the thriller authors I liked because one of his books was too far out there for me.And the publisher had assembled it wrong. I had duplicate signatures which left out part of the story.