Gosh, you make one little comment about how sometimes you write blog posts when you don't feel like it and suddenly your inbox is flooded with emails of thanks. (Why am I writing in second person? That's weird. Shifting now...) Guys, on Monday when I said that thing about posting, I didn't in any way mean that I deserve gratitude for deigning to post regularly on Go Teen Writers. I get all the thanks I need just "seeing" you guys on here. Seriously, I love talking to you all. All I was trying to do was demonstrate why a professional writer shouldn't just write when the feeling hits and what it means to love your readers. I did not mean to set myself up as requiring/needing/deserving thanks. Again, anytime you read a post or leave a comment or click "follow" or enter a contest, that is thanks enough.
Yikes, moving on:
We'll start with target audience because it's the easiest. The agent/editor wants you to clarify who your books intended for. The target audience for the Skylar books is 'Girls ages 13-18." Have women in their 40s read and enjoyed them? Yes. Have men read and enjoyed them? I hear they have. But in this section you're talking about your primary audience.
Sometimes I see more elaborate target audiences. Like: "Women—will appeal to the traditional readership aged 30-50, but will also draw in those in their 20s." Or, "Women between ages 25 and 60 who enjoy clean romances."
Something you should not write is, "Everyone." That will only make the agent/editor write you off as an amateur because that kind of information isn't helpful to them. And, really, it isn't helpful for you either. If my primary audience were teenage boys, I would talk about very different things than if my primary audience were men and women in their 30s and 40s.
Felt needs. This might be similar to your theme ... or it might not. The question to ask yourself for this one is "what does my audience need that my book will satisfy?" For one of my manuscripts floating around on editors desks right now, the felt need is listed as: "Will encourage teenagers to go after dreams they have regardless of how impossible they seem." That's not the theme of my book, but it is a message in there. Here are some more examples of felt needs:
Will help women who have been victimized to realize they have a voice.
Will strengthen new mothers on their adventure, and minister to women who are unable to have children.
Another way you can think of the felt need is what do you hope someone in your target audience will say about their own lives when they finish your book? ("I feel a new sense of hope about my marriage" or "This makes me want to call my dad and tell him I love him.") That might help you target your felt need.
Again, this is something you might be doing primarily because an agent/editor asks for it, but it's also something that can help you as you write/edit your story.
Tomorrow the beautiful and talented Laura Kurk is going to be here talking about her experiences with self-publishing. Then on Friday will talk about author bios. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!