Niche-Specific Audience/My Ideal Reader

Ideal Reader

Denis Colette

I’ve heard that writers need to find a niche and then directly address a niche-specific audience. But in order to do so, the writer must first figure out who that audience is.

Each of us, of course, hopes our work will enjoy universal appeal, when more than likely it will attract one segment of the population over others.

With this in mind, one of my creative writing teachers gave us the following assignment:

  • Create a character who is your ideal reader, the one you imagine pulling your book from a shelf and thumbing through the pages you have written.
  • Give the character a name; give us a picture of your reader and write a brief scene that shows him/her interacting with something you have written.
  • 350 words

Here was my response:

My Ideal Reader

Lorna bites her tongue and prays for patience. Each time she ventures into an unfamiliar bookstore and asks the clerk to direct her to Visionary
, she gets the same response. A blank stare.

“Paul Coehlo,” Lorna says, already anticipating the response.

“Oh, you mean the Metaphysical section.”

No, Lorna thinks, I mean fiction in which the expansion of the human mind drives the plot. But she nods. Guess Metaphysical will have to do.

No matter where she goes, she finds Paul Coehlo shelved under Metaphysical, with nonfiction books on Wicca, astrology, and self-actualization. These books have their merits, true, but Lorna believes that Paul and writers like him deserve a section of their own.

No use asking for the author Lorna is specifically looking for. Margaret Duarte is too obscure for that. Duarte’s fiction appeals mostly to Cultural Creatives such as herself, a subculture equally obscure, invisible, and under the radar.

Lorna fumes at the thought. Duarte’s stories are as familiar to her as her own face in the mirror. She likes the author’s first person accounts of the mystical, psychic, and paranormal.

Duarte presents a third way, not a neutral center, but a bridge to connect the end and the beginning. Her stories are like surf crashing on rocks.

Lorna is an optimist, but hardly a Pollyanna. Just because she likes reading about expanded mental abilities with an eye on solutions rather than dysfunctional relationships and political corruption, doesn’t make her less valuable as a reader and consumer.

She takes the only copy of Margaret Duarte’s novel Between Will and Surrender from the shelf and places it dead center on the table displaying the current best sellers.

It’s time more people step into “the between.”

Cultural Creative

First, I imagine my ideal reader as female (though I hope to attract male readers as well). After all, I write about a woman’s struggle for psychological freedom and her yearning to discover a path based on meaning and purpose rather than income and security.

But then I take it a step further and add an emerging subculture called Cultural Creatives as my ideal readers.
A Cultural Creative is someone who:
  • Loves nature.
  • Cares about self-actualization and spirituality.
  • Wants equity for women.
  • Wants to be involved in creating a new and better way of life in our country and our world.
  • Dislikes emphasis on getting and spending.
  • Likes experiencing and learning about other ways of life.
  • Is optimistic about the future.
  • Walks his/her talk.
  • His/her sense of the sacred includes personal growth and service to others.

As an author, how would you describe your ideal reader?

Or, if you’re a reader, how would you describe yourself and your preferred author?

As always, thanks for stopping by.