Friday, September 27, 2013

Knowing Your Audience

This topic has been on my mind a lot lately, and it's part of the reason I chose to go indie with Butterman (Time) Travel, Inc. For the first time since I've start writing, I'm comfortable with accepting responsibility for my failure or success, whatever the case may be, but what's more, is that I'm taking a leap of faith that I will find my audience.

Part of that comes from knowing who my audience should be. Butterman Travel is NOT a YA story. Reason being, more mature content. That being said, it's not an X rated novel either. My heroine is 18, and she's making her own choices, some of which aren't always wise.

Some of her choices were questioned by a couple beta readers, which I totally understand. But what I kept in mind was, those beta readers were not 18. By the time we reach a certain age, we should be able to say we'd never make the same mistakes we did back then. Oh, to go back in time and knock some sense in our 18 year old brains, right??

But here's the thing. I remember what it was like being 18, and although that age group is far from being ignoramuses, they're still entering a brand new world of having the freedom to make their own choices, and not always being smart about them. It's part of the growth process. And it's how we learn and become the wise ones later in life.

Probably not all 18-25 year olds make as many stupid mistakes as I did, but each person has different degrees of recklessness and adventurous spirits, and depending on that degree, some readers won't be able to relate to certain actions that some characters take. But that's why we read, right? To escape, and live vicariously through characters.

I'm almost 40. *shudders* Can't believe it. In November I turn the big 4-0. But I didn't write Butterman Travel for my age group. I wrote it for that new adult stage, and I know that it'll be relative to readers of that age group, and that's because my characters behave at that age level. Now, I'm not implying it's all about making bad choices--on the contrary, my main character is better at following the rules than I ever was. But there are instances in my story when a reader my age would probably say aloud, "No don't do that, what are you thinking??"

And that's because I believe a reader aged 18-25 will relate. I understood this early on with the uniqueness of some of my story scenes, which involve some explicit drug use, and I didn't want an editor to tell me it'd be a bad influence on young readers. Why? because I wanted my characters to make bad choices sometimes, and learn their consequences, because that's what being 18, 19, 20 is all about.

I told the story the way I thought it should be told, and I used character action that felt very real to me, regardless of how it may be frowned upon.

And I don't think New Adult readers are ill-equipped to handle it. They probably face harder situations in real life all the time. So I'm trusting the readers I wrote this story for, and that's because I feel I know my audience. If it offends anyone, then I know it's because they can't relate, and that's okay. Others will. And they're the ones I wrote the story for.

On a side note, sorry I skipped NA Thursday yesterday. I had to push it back a week, so it should be up again next week. If you have an NA book you'd like me to feature, email me.

Today I'm featuring a new release by Ashley Chappell ca;lled TILT, and it releases on October 11!

Check out her awesome book trailer:

Two years ago, teen goddess Trotter saved the entire pantheon of Realm from a dark god bent on revenge. Her battles led her into fantastic and dangerous worlds where she discovered new friends and family as well as new foes. She also discovered the extraordinary secret behind her birth that her parents had kept hidden for centuries: Trotter had been marked by Chaos himself.

Now, cast out from Realm by the very gods whose lives she saved, her refuge among the humans on Aevum has been destroyed as the world is tilted violently from its sun. Trotter will stop at nothing to save the world and the people she loves, but winning this fight will force her into a choice that may mean giving up the only home she’s ever known.

TILT is the second book in the Dreams of Chaos series which has been hailed by reviewers as "Darker and more enchanting than the Heroes of Olympus Series."

FREEBIE! As part of the upcoming book launch festivities, ALICE WILL: Dreams of Chaos #1 will be FREE on Amazon for Kindle from 10/11 – 10/14! Get your copy here:

Find Ashley on her website

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by and say hello to Ashley! But before you go, how do you feel about knowing your audience? Are you confident in that? Have others questioned it? Do you think it's important to "tell it like it is," or do you prefer characters to behave more like they "should," instead of how they probably, "would?" 
Also if you haven't already, be sure to join the party for my cover reveal on Oct.16th. Click on the top picture in my sidebar and book your time trip today! :D


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The animation in that trailer is stunning.
Kids that age do make dumb choices. I know I did.
Almost forty? You're still young!

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think you have the right idea about knowing you audience. My daughter who is 19 will sometimes want me to read on of her NA books. She doesn't understand why I don't enjoy some books that she loves. I've explained to her that I'm not the intended audience. Though some of them I'm still young enough at heart to enjoy.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Sorry I triple posted????

Lexa Cain said...

I think a good story is a good story, and as long as the characters make sense to the reader, everything's good. Have a wonderful weekend! :-)

Ashley Chappell said...

Thank you so much for sharing my trailer, Pk!
And I completely agree with you about the experience of the new adult age. I'm always disappointed with YA and NA books that write their characters through rose-colored lenses; books can be great tools for giving teens and new adults valuable perspectives on life and help them learn how to cope with the mature situations they do encounter.
I'm glad to see an author taking on the real issues!

D.G. Hudson said...

I wouldn't worry about a book being a bad influence, didn't 50 Shades already take that spot?

Good Luck with your book, and bravo if you stick with the reasons you wrote the book. Everything can't be rainbows and lollipops. That's only in Disneyland.

Raquel Byrnes said...

I totally get where you're coming from. I agree. You need to stay true to the voice and readership you're inspired to write for. :)
Edge of Your Seat Romance


Yes, I would go back and slap myself.
That being said it is still part of the journey to make mistakes and learn from them.

SA Larsenッ said...

I love how much thought you've put into your audience and effort into getting that right. Very insightful post!

William Kendall said...

I do like that trailer! Congratulations to Ashley!

Your take on knowing the audience is spot on, PK.

Andrew Leon said...

I actually kind of wish I had made more "dumb choices" when I was a kid, but I was one of those "good" ones that never got in trouble.

Mark Means said...

Finding an audience and knowing who you're writing for (generally) is a great idea. Not that you have to cater to the demographic, but it helps when making tough decisions.

Great post!

shelly said...

PK, Lila in Secondhand Shoes, is 18 and does some really stupid-girl-things. Really. And yeah...some readers have not liked her at all while other readers could relate to her especially those who have suffered through some kind of abuse.

The story has a pretty good balance of 5, 4, and 3 star reviews.

Go with your gut.

Hugs and chocolate,

Denise Covey said...

I like your reasons for choosing your audience. And I like the idea of NA books.

Looking forward to your time travel blast.

Thank you for signing up to the HAUNTING blogfest on WEP. Will be a blast.


Anonymous said...

Good amination, I'm way past forty but you're as young (or old) as you feel.


Cally Jackson said...

I'm looking forward to reading Butterman (Time) Travel Inc even more now! :-)

Natalie Aguirre said...

So agree that you need to know your reader. And new adult is such an exciting new genre.

And trust me, you are SO young at almost 40.

Tony Benson said...

I tend to think that a book will find its own audience, but I agree - you have to know who you're targeting and you have to understand them.

You're so right about trusting the reader.

Leslie S. Rose said...

My daughter is a "new adult." It's ALL about the mistakes. Excited for your release!

Norma Beishir said...

You have a good handle on finding one's audience, PK.

I envy you being able to remember what it was like to be 18!

Yolanda Renee said...

Enjoyed our post, and you're right as writers we have to be true to our characters and our story. Not every book is going to please every reader.

Good luck with Butterman!

Making mistakes is how we all learn whether we want to admit that or not!

Anonymous said...

You don't even look 30!? As for writing for your audience, it was challenging for me at times b/c I was mature at 18 . . . got married that year, and it wasn't out of immaturity, lol. 15 yrs later and we're still going strong. Lots of times Beta readers would tell me, "This doesn't sound like a young adult." So I was at the other end . . . there are mature young adults out there too! My friends and I are living proof of that. But now I'm making up for that by being really immature :-)

Michael Di Gesu said...

HI, PK...

You are SOOOO doing the right thing. Your target audience is where your writing should be. There are many crossovers like in y/a, but this specific age group is really interesting because this when we do most of our growing up.

I always find some crits hard to take because the people who are critiquing my work are too old for the free spirited characters and YES, TEENAGERS have sex... so why shouldn't a writer include that in upper Y/A?

My second novel deals with MANY adult issues, BUT many teens are thrown into this situation and need to know they are NOT ALONE... my soap box.. LOL. A writer needs to trust their own gut feeling... enough said. LOL.

Happy weekend!

SC Author said...

Oooh that is so true. I feel like even if everyone hates one book, if that book means the world to me, I desperately hope that the author is happy that she wrote it (The Casual Vacancy is an example of this, to me, to a degree).

Dianne K. Salerni said...

YES! You totally have to know your audience, which I think puts me in a great spot for writing my MG series. I work with MG kids every day in class.

So, when beta readers ask: Why my main character lies when he knows the stakes of the situation?

I say: He's 13. He can't/doesn't want to see the consequences of this lie, even if he does know the stakes.

Why does he poke holes in the cover of his math book with a dagger? Is there a significance to this?

The significance is someone let him have a dagger, and he's a 13 year old boy. Sooner or later, he's going to try out the pointy end!

The Desert Rocks said...

I think it's great that you know your audience PK. Of all the bestsellers I've read it seems they appeal to everyone though. I hope to reach more people by not narrowing my focus. On the other hand, you can't please all the people all the time and having a broad sweep can backfire.

Hi Ashley!

The Desert Rocks said...

I think it's great that you know your audience PK. Of all the bestsellers I've read it seems they appeal to everyone though. I hope to reach more people by not narrowing my focus. On the other hand, you can't please all the people all the time and having a broad sweep can backfire.

Hi Ashley!

Crystal Collier said...

My hubby keeps telling me, there's an audience for anything. You just have to find yours. Way to keep that in mind going forward. I'm totally behind you. ;)

M Pax said...

The 40's are a great decade. Congrats to Ashley.

Follow your gut and your intuition. I've regretted when I haven't listened to mine when it came to publishing/writing.

Let me know when you're unrolling. I'd be happ to help you get the word out. :)

Tammy Theriault said...

PK your book has all that "it" factors and then some!!! can't wait to see the finished product and congrats

Kittie Howard said...

Bravo, PK, for not yielding. A beta reader said a computer would make a bank transaction in one of my scenes more realistic. When I told him computers hadn't been invented in the 1950s, he said it didn't matter, the reader related more to computers. I rolled my eyes and went on my merry way. What was, was. Altering that to please young 'uns never works.

I apologize for not getting back to you sooner--my broken foot, now healed, and editing my WIP when I ditched the boot, made for a skewered schedule.

When I read your father was in the 101st, the Screamin' Eagles, I felt like I touched history thru you. I didn't realize it until we made that trip, but those "boys" (as they were called Back Then) are referred, as if the civilian world had saints and it took the ever-grateful people in Normandy to open my eyes. Shame on me!

Anyway, my next post will be a continuation, with the air campaign. If you'd like, I'd be most happy to include a photo of your grandfather (no name if you don't want this) and whatever you'd like to pass on that he said for a part of the post: Invasion of Normandy: The Air Campaign-June 6, 1944. I'm so indebted to all of them

Anyway, it's all as you'd like and I'd understand either way. (

Hey, what they say about life beginning at 40 really is true! Settle back and enjoy the ride. It's fun!

Misha Gericke said...

I know what you mean. Part of me is so worried about my book release, because my YA epic fantasy characters are all very damn far from perfect.

I like them like that, but after reading quite a few fantasies, I'm starting to wonder if going so far off the beaten track is going to make enemies of my readers. :-/

Anyway... My book's coming out on the 4th, so I was wondering if you'd maybe like to do a blog swop with me?

If you do, my e-mail addy is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com. :-)

E.J. Wesley said...

These are THE reasons to publish a story--in whatever fashion--in my opinion. Know who you're writing to, and then do what you can to let them know your book exists. I think Butterman is going to do very well. :)