Wednesday, April 18, 2018

How Do You Define Your Reader?

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books in lots of weird genres like fantasy (Blood of Kings and Kinsman Chronicles), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). She has a podcast/vlog at You can also find Jill on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website. Tagboth (Tag for short) is a goldhorn dragon from Belfaylinn, a hidden fantasy realm on the western end of the Sargasso Sea. Jill is working on the first book of this tale for this year's Grow an Author series.

Part of putting together a pitch for a story means knowing who that story is for. You can narrow this down by genre, age group, and sometimes even by gender. I'd like to recommend that you get even more specific.

When I write a book, there is usually at least one real person I'm writing it for--whether or not that person ever reads it. This is a person who might have inspired the story in some way or someone I think would really like it. Here is a Storyworld Short video I made to talk more about this topic.

The imaginary readers I talked about I also blogged about on Go Teen Writers several years ago in a post titled "Who is Your Target Reader?" Here is a link to that post if you want to take a closer look.

How about you? How do you define your target reader? Do you have a broad idea of who you are writing for or someone particular in mind?

Share in the comments.


  1. My imaginary target reader is a teenage girl who loves reading contemporary books like The Fault in Our Stars and The Hate U Give in her spare time, even if she has to stay up all night to do it. Books are basically her only friends. She loves music and plays the violin at school. Her broken family doesn't have the most money, so she gets all her books from the library.
    My book will appeal to her musical side, as my main character learns to play an instrument at an arts school and it's full of jokes and struggles musicians will understand. She'll relate to the main character's struggles with family/financial issues and making friends causing her to quickly get attached to the book and care about what happens to the characters.
    Maybe that was a little toooo detailed, but hey, it was fun! XD
    - Josie /

    1. Not too detailed at all, Josie. I loved it! Beautiful job. :-)

  2. I did do an exercise from "Writing Fiction for Dummies" that dealt with target really helped me get a better idea of what I don't like (punch-up based plotlines, etc.).

    But my usual strategy is that I write for myself and what I like (Star Wars, The Hunger Games, etc.). So if there's a book I would like to read that doesn't exist, then I write it!

    This also means keeping my writing to myself most of the time as I don't want to write it for someone else (and having comments from someone else could skew my first draft.)

    1. P.S.: I recently bought your "Go Teen Writers" book. I'm using it to help me edit my latest manuscript (editing is something I've never done before). Your book is very helpful and inspiring, so I just wanted to say thanks :)

  3. wow, I never heard of giving who you right for a background ;D Most of my books were written for me to heal some sort of pain, or deal with some sort of question. My first novel was written for a guy I knew when I was little who had seemed really great, but had fallen away from God. I was 16 at the time and couldn't understand why... so I set out to understand. I love my first novel Perfect because I answered that question and so many more.

    My third novel was written to sort out my feelings after a breakup. In some ways it was written to the guy (I know he'll most likely read it, and if he were to read I'd actually be nervous lol) but mostly it was written for anyone who is going through a breakup and feels a lone.

  4. This post was really helpful! I'll have to think about who is my target reader...

    Lily @