Are You In My Target Audience?
I can’t be the only woman who’s burnt out on books with naked people on the covers, can I? One can only assume that inside the book more naked people are to be found doing a variety of things that people do when they get naked together. I mean, I appreciate a good set of abs on a guy as much as anybody, but sometimes my Twitter feed seems to be full of those and little else. Which, I guess, is slightly better than it being full of political rants.
My parents were proud of me when my first two books came out. They were wholesome, squeaky clean stories. And completely unrealistic, in my opinion. They were also not what I wanted to write. My mother was appalled when she discovered I also wrote books with love scenes in them. “I guess sex sells,” was her comment.
Sex does sell to a certain portion of the reading audience. I like a good love scene as much as anyone. But I don’t need one on every other page. I don’t need them inserted gratuitously or randomly or because a publisher’s guidelines say, “Insert sex scene here.”
For me, it’s about the story leading up to the love scene. I need to see relationship building in romance novels. Not just two people banging non-stop. Sexual contact requires no relationship and very little thought. I am familiar with the mechanics. I don’t need what amounts to an instruction manual when reading “romantic” fiction. But that’s just me.
Maybe it’s you as well. My current work in progress, If You Knew, features a heroine who is widowed, pregnant and a former adult film actress. She relocates to a small Iowa town at the behest of her husband’s ghost who is determined to see her settled and happy. He even steers her toward a new man.
Now that’s a story idea, right? Are there love scenes? Yes. But there’s a whole lot of story happening beforehand. A whole lot of relationship building.
Are you the audience for this kind of romantic fiction that crosses the line into women’s fiction? Maybe you are like the four women who’ve read the manuscript and loved it. They are all over age 50. (And so am I!)
A 30-something reader who loved my last book, White Roses in Winter, had zero interest in this one. Go figure. White Roses in Winter is a modern twist on the shotgun wedding trope featuring college-aged protaganists. There was no ghost involved.
I haven’t figured out exactly who my target audience is, but I think I’m getting closer. Chances are my audience is a lot like me: female; avid fiction reader; enjoys various romance genres and women’s fiction, suspense and mystery; mature; intelligent; loves libraries and bookstores; owns a computer and an ebook reading device; has a smart phone she fears is smarter than she is; doesn’t completely grasp or understand social media but makes the attempt to; won’t waste time on bad books; takes advantage of senior discounts if available.
Are you in my target audience? I hope so! I’d love to hear from you.