Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meet My Audience, Part 1

Linda, my audience.
One of the first things I learned when I got serious about writing for publication (hard to believe that was seven years ago) is you have to know your audience. It’s a piece of advice that is repeated over and over and worth following. It is the mark of a newbie or immature writer to think that everyone is going to enjoy your writing (but that’s nothing several rejections can’t fix).

I can’t say I was one of those people that thought that everyone was going to fall head over heels in love with every word I penned. But I must admit, it took me a little time to define my audience. In the beginning, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write exclusively for African-American Christian women or not. Seemed like a logical assumption since I am African-American. I wasn’t sure of the age of my audience at first. I started with my own age, and now that seven years have passed and I am…ahem…a little older, I realized that I would have to broaden my range. And not to mention all of the other considerations I had to face when narrowing down my specific audience.

But God divinely answered all my audience questions by sending a wonderful woman into my life: Linda Sothern. Linda and I met in 2005 in a young adult ministry my husband and I headed. She impressed me immediately with her administration skills and the fact that she read as much as, if not more, than I did. We talked about books often and found we had similar tastes in books. It was so bad that she started calling me her "book wife."

I had mentioned to Linda that I was a writer and asked her to edit some of my writings. And that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Linda has been my champion for many years and I’m grateful. She also my motivation and is not afraid to call me and threaten me when I’m not writing and is a great brainstorming partner. And she charges me a very reasonable rate for her services: I pay her in hugs (I used to pay her in baked goods, but we had to end that program).

Most of all, Linda has helped me define my audience: educated, culturally and socially conscious Christian women, age 25-40, who enjoy diversity in literature.  You’ll get to hear from Linda herself in part two of this post. 

No comments: