Who is my audience?

Who is my audience?  This is something I have been struggling with in writing my novel.  I veer between thinking that it will be a YA novel because the protagonist starts out at being 17 years old… but then I change my mind and say that it will contain too many adult concepts to be in the YA genre.  Then, I go back to thinking that what adult wants to read about a 17 year old girl, anyway? (Even though she’s going to grow older and get married as the novel progresses… but shh, she doesn’t know that yet – and I don’t think she would particularly care to find out.)


I wonder how many writers out there struggle with that very same question.  Do you know, as soon as you put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) towards whom your novel – or other written work – will be targeted?  Or do you wait a little while until you see what the tone of your novel/short story/etc. will be, and then decide?  I’ve never actually spent time contemplating this until I began working on this novel in its horrible, plot-ninjas-ahoy NaNoWriMo style.  I thought that it would be YA fiction, since it centered around a seventeen year old… but then as the novel progressed, with many more adult concepts than I had intended (incest, marriage, pregnancy, etc.), I decided that I had better change the audience/genre I had picked for it on the NaNoWriMo website since it was most definitely changing in the writing of the novel!!


Prior to writing my current work-in-progress, I had just merrily toyed about with writing whatever I felt like writing.  Whatever came to mind.  Whatever a keyword or phrase prompted.  However, now that I am actually planning on writing with the intent to publish, I need to keep the audience in mind.  I don’t think that I want this novel to be intended for a younger crowd, since I plan on keeping some of the same elements in it that were in its NaNo form (although nix on the incest – that was more to get words flowing, as much as I hate to say it… but admittedly, it did add to the story.  I just don’t want to have that in a novel with my name on it, assuming this gets to the publication stage).  And because I know that for sure, I need to keep the little doubtlets that are spawning in my brain at bay, too… Are you sure you don’t want this to be YA fiction? do you really think adults will be interested in reading a book that starts off being about a teenager? honestly now, how crazy are you?  …As you can see, they can be pretty nasty at times.  Silly little doubtlets, you’re not going to change my mind yet again…


So – what helps you decide who your audience will be?


2 thoughts on “Who is my audience?

  1. Don’t listen to the doubtlets, 🙂 there’s vast quantities of beloved fiction out there enjoyed by adults that’s got younger protagonists in it, or whose protagonists start out younger. Sometimes it’s adult books where the characters happen to start out youngish, sometimes it’s YA books that resonate with adults too. Its all about the story and themes, not the age of the characters.

    Me personally, I’ve never given much thought to an audience in that way. I’ve always just written whatever the story wanted to be and then decided how to market it from there (though it’s interesting to me that the more general audiences stuff was easier to publish, indicating that I didn’t at that time have a good handle on conveying trickier themes and events)

    • I’ll try not to listen to the doubtlets. 😉 It can be difficult though. I know I am probably overthinking it, and I know that there are adult books that have younger protagonists at the beginning, since I’ve read plenty. But I think part of it is that I want it to be a YA book, except I have no idea how to go about letting it be YA with some of the stuff that is already happening in it. So perhaps I shall wait and work on a YA novel later with some other ideas that I have stewing around in my brain. 🙂

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