I was having trouble deciding what genre my book was and who the audience was. I felt it should be easy. I know we all want everyone in the world to read our books, but know that’s not happening. And how do I not know what genre my book is? Everyone should know what they’re writing.
One of my biggest concerns was I didn’t know if it was Young Adult or Adult fiction (I knew it was fiction, so that was half the battle). If it was a screenplay, it would be a comedy and PG-13.
I never read Young Adult novels growing up because they all sounded stupid and bored me. I always read “adult.” I read CS Lewis in first grade. I read Agatha Christie because my family watched Poirot and Miss Marple. If it was called “classic” I wanted to read it.
I went to the bookstore. I went up and down the adult fiction rows picking titles that attracted me. I chose to start with adult fiction because young adults can “read up,” but adults won’t necessarily “read down” (I’m pretty sure I’m not writing the next Harry Potter/Twilight).
I picked some titles that I had sniffed at when they first came out. I deemed them fluffy, silly, and refused to read them even though “everyone” was reading them.
Well, now that I wasn’t writing to change the world with my words, I looked at them differently.
They had female leads like mine, but different. They were very girly, surprised by their decisions and the power they could weild. I was interested in the story, but felt it was missing something. I wanted them to be a touch smarter.
Then it hit me: there was my audience and genre.
Chick lit plus. Female driven stories for the reader who wanted chick lit to be a little more fulfilling.
My leads were in pursuit of the best person they could be, not the perfect pair of shoes. They wanted to improve the lives of people around them, not attend parties to be seen.
I left the bookstore feeling so much better.
Finding your audience and genre is similar to finding yourself. When you find your audience, you find your heart. You know who you’re fighting for. You find your faith. Yes, there is someone out there who will like this and they are looking for it. I need to be a good, nice person and let them know it’s out there (or coming). Now that I know who I’m looking for, I can go find them and get to know them. Make friends. You can never have too many friends.