Author Tamela Hancock Murray

Your Reader

Not long ago, I met with a group of publishing professionals who broached the topic of audience. A couple of them discussed how their company envisions their reader. They went so far as to identify the reader by the name they had given her. They knew her age and discussed preferences that would dictate whether she would like a specific book.

As a writer, perhaps you would be helped by working to identify your star reader. Here are a few areas to develop:

Name:

Age:

Level of education:

Relationship status:

Children, if any, and their ages:

Level of involvement in children’s school:

Children’s activities:

Ways your reader practices personal devotion to the Lord and how often:

Where they iive:

Where they attend church and how often:

Level of activity in church (committees; men’s or women’s groups; vacation Bible school, Sunday school teacher, or both):

Community activity and leadership:

Level of involvement with friends and extended family:

Theology (liberal, conservative, or moderate and why; theological issues that concern this reader most and why; life event(s) that led to this reader’s views; identification as a born-again Christian and, if so, when the reader was saved):

Level of interest in politics and current events:

Political party affiliation:

Current issues that concern your reader most:

How your reader is feeling (health issues; family issues;     responsibilities):

Is your reader’s outlook generally optimistic? Pessimistic?

Is your reader’s life stressful, or are they bored? Why?

What are your reader’s flaws? Will your reader look to your books to help them?

Other than reading, how does your reader spend free time?

As a writer, you can use a Word document or even an Excel spreadsheet to record specifics about your reader. You can be much more detailed than this, identifying the reader’s favorite ice cream and the like. You can answer the questions yourself or respond in the reader’s voice. Your commitment to this exercise is limited only by your imagination and the degree that you find it helpful. Most of all, have fun!

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