Christian authors can find it challenging to determine an audience for their books, mainly because Christian books are aimed at something different than age ranges. Christian books are often aimed at a “psychographic,” rather than a demographic. This means Christian books are often aimed at readers who have certain values, beliefs, and lifestyles, rather than an age range of males or females.
No book, except for the Bible, is for everyone; so you need to suggest a target audience for your book. And for a very long time, advertising and marketing focused on age-range markets: 12-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, and then 65+.
If you think about it, grouping 12- and 17-year-olds into one market segment is a bit silly, but no sillier than grouping everyone 65 and over into one group.
Today, much of consumer marketing and product development is focused on groups with shared values, beliefs, and lifestyles. Of course, there are products distinctly for the young or old; but mostly other non-age-related factors are used to determine an audience for a product.
I find it rather humorous when I think that a person born in 1948 celebrated their 21st birthday at the August 1969 Woodstock music festival, listening to Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and The Grateful Dead, among others, and turned 75 this past August. Good luck determining whether that person will attend a church service with traditional hymns and organ accompaniment or may prefer another type of worship experience.
Same with books. Don’t assume a 75-year-old reader lived their life in black and white, playing the accordion, and reading the King James Bible. They grew up watching the Vietnam War on their color televisions. The only thing in black and white were the pictures beamed back to Earth from the surface of the moon the month before Woodstock.
And, of course, these days, race and gender are being used as ways to segment people into marketable groups. These things work just about as well as age ranges. (Not very well.)
This is why when you try to guess who might read your book, you might do well to forget the age-range target and focus on values; priorities; lifestyles; and, of course, whether they are Christ-followers or not.
Of course, this takes more time than reflexively thinking a book is for people ages 35-54 or some other segment, but it is worth the effort. It humanizes your reader and makes you consider things about them that a cold marketing segment never will.
Add to this description the fact that most best-selling books for adults are written at an approximate reading level of 8th grade. More reflective or literary titles can push the reading level to late high-school grades. But for the most part, we are using language understandable to a 13-year-old to communicate Bible truth to the world.
If you ever sat in a room with multiple generations, races, and all the other characteristics that are used to divide and conquer us and unite in worship to the King, you quickly realize how pointless all those other things become compared to the surpassing knowledge of knowing Christ.
But remember, no book is for everyone or every Christian. Think deeper to identify your audience.
Books are for people, not caricatures.