Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Let’s start with the A’s - Audience.  When I think about my audience, I visualize a bunch of people empathizing with the hardships of being a caregiver for the elderly.  I see them nodding their heads when they read about an elderly client farting in a waiting room, or laughing at the description of seniors road-testing electric scooters. I see a blue-collar people, some men, mostly women, who keep south west Florida’s economy running. They understand the subtleties of hurricanes, men in old pick-up trucks, armadillos, and sunbirds. I imagine reading to them during their lunch break, or on the ride home from yoga class, maybe even before they turn out the lights at night. I see people with dysfunctional families (pretty much everyone), who find levity in reading about the Delaneys, a functional-dysfunctional family much like my own family. And I don’t limit myself. I recently learned that YA’s relate to Milo Purdie as he struggles to find balance between the vicissitudes of dating and making a decent living.
There is probably a more scientific way to determine one’s audience, but this method works for me, and apparently my audience. Just try this exercise and see if it works for you: take a moment to picture yourself reading to a live audience (large or intimate).  Picture yourself sitting in front of this group of people who will enjoy your literary voice, who will laugh with you, and commiserate with your characters’ challenges. Hear yourself reading the last sentence and closing your book. See them beaming happily, clapping, and then asking when your next book will be available.