How Do I Identify the Needs of My Readers?

The “Your Questions Answered” Series


Could you offer some help for identifying the needs of readers? I am a strong biblical writer and want to share what I’ve learned, but it is hard for me to link it with a particular need.

Ask yourself:

  1. What does the Bible say about relationships, such as:
    1. Marriage
    2. Children
    3. Parents
    4. Siblings
    5. Extended family
    6. Church
    7. Friends
  2. What does the Bible say about:
    1. Finances
    2. Career
    3. Family
    4. Manhood
    5. Womanhood
  3. What does the Bible say about handling emotions, such as:
    1. Grief
    2. Loneliness
    3. Despair
  4. How does the Bible help us identify and conquer sin, such as:
    1. Pride
    2. Envy
    3. Lust
    4. Greed
    5. Sloth
    6. Gluttony
    7. Anger
  5. What does the Bible tell us about small things that can be big things, such as:
    1. Negligence
    2. Pilfering
    3. Vanity
    4. Thoughtlessness
    5. Narcissism
    6. Cutting humor
    7. Attention-seeking
    8. Criticizing
    9. Gossip
    10. Thrill-seeking
    11. Malcontention

In other words, choose a topic that resonates with the people around you and stirs passion in yourself. Then write a book that will help the person in the pew. Godspeed!

Your turn:

What topics would you like to see addressed in nonfiction?

Can you recommend books for this author to read?

For the entire series, click here: “Your Questions Answered.”

12 Responses to How Do I Identify the Needs of My Readers?

  1. Avatar
    Jeannie Delahunt September 10, 2020 at 6:26 am #

    I read, recently, “Your greatest pain is your greatest ministry.” I believe this. I would start there. Chances are there are people out there who may really need your insights and support.

    A great post!!!

  2. Avatar
    Jeannie Delahunt September 10, 2020 at 6:34 am #

    Also, I just happened to think…

    I spent a good chunk of my life as a substance abuse counselor. One of the major reasons for addiction is to soothe some kind of intense emotional, mental, spiritual, and/or physical pain.

    Some of my writing deals with freedom from these kinds of agony.

    I would suggest looking at the people you know well, and the types of conditions they’ve had to cope with. What have you learned from them? Without revealing the identities of these people, find a way to convert their life lessons into fodder for compositions.

  3. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks September 10, 2020 at 6:39 am #

    Volunteering can give you so many ideas for needs within the church. Volunteer at your local Christian school or public school! Volunteer at your local camp, in the kitchen, or train as a camp counselor! I live and work at a Bible camp and I can tell you that over the years we have watched the struggles kids and their parents face pile up and yes, the Bible does have words of comfort and encouragement and exhortation for the troubles of life. Abandonment, being given adult responsibility as a child, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, racism, alcoholism, despair, the need for community, the need for the outdoors, longing for peace, high pressure to succeed, refusal to be listened to, fear of finding a career, fear that you will repeat the failings of your parents, anger … these are just a few of the things facing today’s youth. Spend a week scrubbing pots in the kitchen with people and you will slowly see their hopes and struggles. It takes time, but if you spend a summer or school year volunteering, I bet you will find what you are looking for.

  4. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser September 10, 2020 at 7:09 am #

    Your readers must be catered to,
    and be shown, not told,
    for your book is not their pew
    but a tenuous foothold,
    an invitation to the heart
    to make a contribution,
    to play a small but vital part
    in the finding of solution
    to the cares that plague us all,
    the worrries and the fears;
    your words must be the clarion-call
    that their God holds them dear.
    Friend, when you pick up your pen,
    ask their needs – then ask again.

    • Avatar
      Lisa September 15, 2020 at 6:12 am #

      Hello Andrew, this writing resonates with me. Thank you for sharing your imagination, faith, and insights.

  5. Avatar
    OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU September 10, 2020 at 9:03 am #

    Thanks Tamela. That was wonderful sharing about what to write about for our christian brethren! God bless you.
    For non fiction, the topics I would like to see being addressed are: parenting , culture clash, marriage counselling to struggling couples or singles losing hope of such a blessing, controversial topics like what the bible says on gender change, same sexuality and so on. Thanks and God bless you for being on the platform today!

  6. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver September 10, 2020 at 10:46 am #

    Nice sonnet Andrew, as always!

  7. Avatar
    Paula Geister September 10, 2020 at 11:07 am #

    I’m currently working on a devotional (with essays from people who are Christians and who have experience) about living with mental illness. “Master/Mind: Hope for Christians Living With Mental Illness.” The Church still has a way to go in the way it recognizes mental illnesses and how it supports people who struggle.

    Thanks for the great list of ideas.

  8. Avatar
    Peggy Rychwa/Sheryl Marcoux September 10, 2020 at 1:38 pm #

    I think your most important comment is, “What does the Bible have to say about….”

    I was just meditating earlier today on how many Christians actually read the Bible. How can we teach what we don’t know? And fiction is a powerful teaching tool.

  9. Avatar
    Jeanne Takenaka September 10, 2020 at 3:23 pm #

    What a great post. I am finding it’s easiest to write about those issues that are closest to my heart, and the life struggles that have impacted the most deeply. I haven’t thought about writing a non-fiction book with those topics, though. You’ve given me food for thought.

  10. Avatar
    Wendy September 11, 2020 at 8:20 am #

    If something strikes a chord with us on a personal level, it most likely will do the same for others. The Bible is filled with stories that get to the heart of the human condition. How many of those stories deal with malice that comes from a root of jealousy or covetousness? How many of the stories have an element of betrayal? And we love to see God acting on behalf of His people, in the midst of overwhelming circumstances, to bring them to victory. Bible stories can serve as inspiration for helping us get to the heart of our own personal stories. While it’s painful to endure malice and betrayal, it’s uplifting to see how God has helped us in the midst of those challenging circumstances. Sharing truths gleaned from it all might help others get through their own adversity. We all experience times of trouble.

  11. Avatar
    Dani September 21, 2020 at 3:35 pm #

    Commitment. Recently, I’ve seen THREE Christian wives leave their husbands of 25-30 years. They’ve all been active in ministries in their churches (different denominations). From the outside, they look like solid dedicated Christians.

    Yet, somehow, they seem to think it’s OK simply because (all three gave this reason): they don’t want to be married any more.

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