Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Who Is My Reader?

Imagine your reader sitting here. What does she look like? How much time does he devote to reading every week? What is this person looking for in your book? And why do they keep coming back to your writing? Why do they like your voice? What do you offer them that is different than what others might bring?

How can you best minister to your reader?

We writers have to nail down our audience for every book proposal we write. But as writers, we need to consider our overall body of work—not just one novel or non-fiction tome, but our focus in writing.

Here’s how you know what your reader looks like: look inside.

What are you passionate about? I love studying the truth that Christians are members of the bride of Christ. We will one day wed the King of kings. Amazing. So, when I write, I like to include snippets of “bridal” understanding in my work.

So, for me—my reader is someone who joins me in that fascination, or someone who might. And of course, that's only one facet. There are many more.

Ask yourself what your passions are in life. There are likely several on your list. (Yes, you should list them out.) One of my other all-time favorite passions is music. I’ve been creating songs since before I could read. Whenever I can write and include musical characters, my soul cheers.

Take your passions list, match it up with ministerial value, and minister to your reader.

Keep him or her in mind as you write because it’s all about your reader.


  1. I have not really thought enough to envision my reader when I write until I started writing for a card company. I need to do the same here:)

  2. Hi Terri,

    I never thought of that with card writing. But what a great means of creating just the right wording. Glad this was helpful!

    (I need to keep these things in mind, too. :)


  3. Great post, Annette!

    For my nonfiction projects, I have a photo of a person who represents the audience for that book taped above my computer. For example, while writing a book for people with illness, I taped a photo of a friend who has chronic illness on the board above the computer. This visual helps me to always keep my reader in mind.

    Steve Laube once said something in a workshop that I've never forgotten: "Write as though you are sitting chatting with your reader over coffee."

    Annette & Dawn, I'm learning so much from your new blog! Thank you!

  4. Thank you, Judy. So glad to see you here!!

    I love Steve's advice. Great counsel--and less intimidating sometimes, to picture that.

    Glad the blog is blessing you, Judy! Thanks for reading!



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