Imagining Your Ideal Reader

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

You may be thinking that your ideal reader is simply someone who buys and reads your book. While I can sympathize, you need to develop a clear vision of who your ideal reader is and write a book that’s compelling for them. Sure, identifying your target audiences can help you, but creating one imagined and specific person will further help you create content.

If you’re having trouble with this visualization, try putting yourself in the position of your reader and ask yourself these questions:

  • What scares you?
  • What motivates you? 
  • What are you hoping to get from the book? 
    • What will it change in your life?
    • Why do you need it?
  • What other sources have you sought out?

These questions should be enough to get your mind moving and imagine your reader more clearly. Some writers like to take this exercise to the next level by naming their reader, giving them an occupation, and attributing qualities. If imaging 25-year-old Becky, who just got a promotion and is looking for money-management tips, is helpful for your writing process, then go ahead and describe her away. Authors have different needs and preferences for how in-depth to go with this ideal reader development, and there’s no right or wrong way to do it.

It’s important to consider demographics as you construct your book. If it’s a general guide to the tech industry, it’s important to know that it’s a male-dominated field. That doesn’t mean you can’t write it for women in the tech industry though. You just have to understand that if you’re going to write the book for that audience, then you need to make the focus clear from the beginning.

Your book is allowed to appeal beyond your target audience and there will be those people who stumble across it and read your book for fun. But overall, you’ll have more success writing to a particular audience than trying to appeal to everyone at the same time. With this supposedly “universal” approach, you’ll end up with vague, generic sentences that are ineffective for everyone.

This holds true for when you’re creating online content as you promote your book. Whether it’s through social media or a blog, you’ll want to cater towards a specific audience. Take note of what platform you’re using and what the ages, gender, education, etc. are for the primary platform users. Maybe you’ll realize certain platforms don’t fit your brand or aren’t effective for reaching your desired audience.

So keep Becky in mind as you go about your writing, you never know when you’ll have to consult your ideal reader!