Who I Write For: My Struggle to Define My Target Audience

Jun 22, 2024 by S. R. Watts

As I have taken classes over the years to learn how to market my book, one thing that my professors have consistently hammered into my brain is the need to understand who my target audience is. It seems like every course I’ve taken, from marketing strategy to SEO writing, has gone over the same basic framework for identifying the type of customer you will be focusing all your efforts on as you promote your product or service.  Whether it’s defining the demographic and psychographic details of your audience or creating a buyer persona, there is a real methodology for understanding who would be interested in whatever it is you are selling so you are not wasting valuable time and resources advertising to the wrong person.

I must admit, though, that this all is a little too clinical for my liking. While I do think it’s important to know who may be interested in buying my books, I think it’s even more important to remember that I wrote my books for people with certain interests and needs. Psychographic details that could be attributed to a wide range of demographics when you stop to consider the story’s central message of finding one’s inner worth. Perhaps it would help to go over the three types of people I had in mind when writing “The Divine Saga” so that we can better see just how complicated it’s been for me to define my target audience.

1. I wrote it for people wanting to experience something new

In today’s world of endless remakes, reboots, and sequels/prequels, the entertainment industry has seen a serious lack of new and innovative stories in the last couple of decades. This, no doubt, has to do with Movie and television executives and even book publishers wanting to stick with franchises and creators that have a proven track record of profitability as producing anything requires a significant investment on their part. However, the more they insist on mining once-beloved IPs for all they are worth, the more apathetic audiences have become to every new film, book, or television show that is released, even if the quality of the production is really good. 

My epic fantasy series, “The Divine Saga,” was written in part for those wanting to experience something new and exciting. It’s a fresh take on the genre that hasn’t been seen since J. R. R. Tolkien virtually invented epic fantasies with his “Lord of the Rings” Trilogy. It is a visionary tale that Indie Reader has described as "a riveting fantasy book that makes time fade away into the pages as consumed readers are curious to know what happens next…an example of world-building at its finest. A perfect amalgamation of theme, action, adventure, and characters readers will want to befriend.” It’s certainly a worthwhile read for anyone wanting to experience something other than the same old flavors that the so-called gatekeepers of art and culture keep serving up year after year.

2. I wrote it for those struggling to overcome trauma

More often than not, people look for stories that allow them to escape from the hardships they are facing in real life, and fantasy is one genre that people tend to gravitate toward when that is the case. One psychological study I read about in The Guardian suggested that escapism not only has the ability to offer respect for readers but can give them greater resilience to face their problems once they have finished reading the story, especially if the hero of said story overcomes trials that they can relate to. Having suffered through some very traumatic experiences in my own life, I myself have found value in escaping into the worlds of my favorite fantasy books where I could go on amazing journeys and overcome great obstacles alongside the hero.

While I could take an entire book to tell of how I came to write “The Divine Saga,” it suffices me to say that I wrote it for anyone looking to escape into a fantasy world where they could find what they need to overcome the trials and tribulations they are facing in the real world. Much of what the hero in my story faces is what I had experienced throughout my life—although my reality wasn’t nearly as fantastical—and the turmoil he experiences is certainly something that anyone who’s known trauma in their own lives can relate to. So it really doesn’t matter if you are male or female, young or old, rich or poor, or any other demographic you may identify with; pain is a universal experience, so anyone could potentially find this story worthy of escaping into.

3. Those seeking answers to the meaning of life

If there’s one thing that all good stories do well, it’s this: They reflect the human condition. Stories can talk about every human experience conceivable, from growing up to falling in love to fighting injustice to even facing death. However, in all the time I was a young, aspiring author, I had not once seen a novel that dared to tackle the one question that humans have been asking since the dawn of time: what is the meaning of life? This is a question that scientists, philosophers, and even theologians in every age of human history have attempted to tackle. Yet, few have ever seemed to come up with a definitive answer. Having been raised by parents of great faith, I came to know the true meaning of life when I was a teenager, and it pained me to see that so many people around the world have been searching for an answer to this question but never seemed to know where to find it.

So, being the visionary that I am, I sought to write “The Divine Saga” in hopes of helping others understand the true meaning of life in a way that would not offend their modern sensibilities. Fantasy has a unique ability to inspire people in ways that no other genre can, providing a setting that is so fantastical that it lets anyone believe that anything is possible. By weaving this knowledge into the fabric of my epic tale, I created the means for people to find the answers they seek in a way that is both accessible and empowering, thus helping them find the enlightenment they have always wanted. 

In Conclusion

It’s clear now why it’s been so hard to define my target audience. When my marketing professors tell me to focus on the demographics of my ideal reader, I struggle to define those parameters simply because the psychographics of my story can apply to so many demographics. They are universal traits that are common among every age group, every socioeconomic class, and every region around the world. Maybe one day I could show this blog post to someone who has better insight into the market and tell them about the story in greater detail. Perhaps they would be able to help me create that ever-elusive buyer persona that would allow me to move forward with my marketing efforts.