All Because of Chickens

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings: Target audience

Happy Saturday!

What are your plans for today, this weekend? Hope it's fun and involves reading, finding new books and new authors.

Where do you find your books? Recently, my family just went to the library and even though I have a pile of books to read, well, I had to pick up a couple of more. New authors for me. They're mysteries and the back blurbs sounded interesting. Just up my alley.

Of course, this leads into this week's musing to our authors...who is your target audience - parents/guardian or child/tween/teen?

My target audience is teens.  My book EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA was written for that audience.  I wrote it after the frustration I had when I couldn’t find many fantasies that reflected not only my bilingual student’s Mexican heritage but mine as well.  I wanted a protagonist that they could look up to and see as a mirror of themselves.

Now my current project can be a cross-over.  Right now writing out of my comfort zone which has always been YA.  Attending local RWA meetings to help with not only the craft of writing but learning how to write realistic romances. 

TERRI BERTHA, Mainstream NEW author

My target audience is definitely for Middle Grade.  Language, content, characters and mood are all directed to their world, friends and dealing with their dilemmas.
Even though the audience is Middle Grade, adults can also find Spooky Twisties fun and entertaining to read because we were all kids once and can relate to their experiences.

I have always believed my books were for kids. With If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor, I aimed for about ten or eleven and in After I aimed for about twelve and up. The interesting thing is as soon as it was published I noticed how many older people enjoyed reading it and that even though I had written it in a girl’s point of view, boys and men enjoyed reading it too. Older people were able to identify with the characters and it brought them back to their high school days. Younger kids enjoyed reading about a girl who was like Carolyn, but I was surprised some of them liked Jennifer more than Carolyn. In fact so many identified with her that I decided to write the sequel in her point of view.

With After, I wrote it for older kids who might be going through the same thing as Lauren. As with my first book, adults really seemed to love it too. But it was not written for adults. I wrote it about my own experiences, but it is told in a fifteen year old girl’s point of view. The situations in the book are typical things that would happen to a teen. Lauren reacts according to her age. However, I have only had feedback from adults. I am hoping when the book gets into print more kids will get to see it. It has a beautiful love story along with accurate descriptions of what it is like to have a father who has heart issues.

Both.  When I crafted my tween e-books, All Because of Chickens and Lessons From the Sheepfold (due out this Fall/Winter), I wrote for the ones who would be reading them.  I filled them with adventures and challenges youth of that age could enjoy, relate to, and perhaps even experience.  (I was told by one mother that after reading All Because of Chickens, her son wanted to raise chickens!)  However, by seeing that the activities and relationships are appropriate with the reader’s age, I also consider the parents and guardians—they can feel free to let their children wallow in these tales without any concerns for propriety.

I think my target audience is both kids and their parents. I want actual kids to get the messages that they can stand up against bullying, but I also hope parents share and enjoy the same messages.

When I wrote Family Secret, the target audience I had in mind was reluctant tween/teen readers. I picture mostly boys reading Family Secret, but I think girls would love to read it too. I think it is important as you write your story to keep your target audience in mind.  The target audience for Ghostly Clues is tween/teen girls.

I write for both primary and middle grade readers for two reasons: the primary readers are just beginning their journey into learning the joy that comes with reading; and, the middle grade readers have already learned the joy reading a book can bring.

Since most primary readers do not choose their own books, the challenge is to entice both the child and the parent with a story. Once that is accomplished, picture books and chapter books open the child’s world by introducing new cultures and ideas through simple stories written in either rhyme or prose. A good story has the ability to make a young child laugh, ask questions, and imagine what might have been or what might be. The challenge for writers is to provide a story that will help develop a child’s imagination while increasing oral and language readiness, and I love a good challenge.

While I love writing picture books, I think I enjoy writing for the middle grader readers even more. With middle grader readers, they choose their own books, and while they want to be entertained, they want stories that matter. Writing for this age is extremely rewarding. Their imagination is untethered. Simply put, that means that where the story goes, they go. The story can be historical like my book, Search for the Red Ghost, based on legends like Penny Estelle’s Wickware Sagas, or a journey into a fantastical land and time like Antje Hergt’s The Reluctant Dragonhunter Series. It just has to be entertaining and exciting from that first page to the last, have a main character who undergoes some form of transformation, and an ending that makes them say, “That was a good book.” It only takes one child who enjoyed my book to make me want to write another.

My target audience for 'Daffodil and the Thin Place' is young adults, and when I wrote it, I tried to keep the language and content appropriate to that age group. I was very surprised to find that as far as I know, more adults have read it than teens, and in particular, men have read it! I've had some good feedback from them, too!

I'm planning a sequel and I will try to aim at the same age group as before, while hoping that if it's published, it will appeal to adults too.

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note:

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