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Writing and Publishing

Don’t Be a Generalist: Your Book Will Not Appeal to Everyone

Authors need to know their audience. We must determine who will be the typical reader of our book. Too often writers naively assume— or arrogantly claim–that everyone will like their book. While having the whole world clamor to read our work would be a great outcome, it’s not going to happen; no book has universal appeal.

Trying to write a book that will interest everyone is a futile effort. Likewise, marketing our book to everyone is a waste of time and of money. Not everyone will be interested in our book. While this idea may be disconcerting, it’s a reality we best accept.

So forget about being a generalist. We need to specialize. Becoming a specialist gives us focus, both for our writing and our marketing.

When we specialize, we home in on a particular topic geared to a specific demographic. We write with that idea and reader in mind, and then we market with the same perspective.

However, just because we write and then market to a certain demographic, doesn’t mean we’re limiting our sales to that specific group. Others from outside our target audience will also read and enjoy our book; it’s just that these folks are harder to identify and market to. Sales to our target audience should be our focus. Then when others buy our book, it’s a bonus.

Trying to appeal to all people will cause frustration; focus can remove that frustration.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

One reply on “Don’t Be a Generalist: Your Book Will Not Appeal to Everyone”

Good advise, Peter, that every writer should consider before beginning to write.

I, on the other hand, began writing blind to all the rules. The book took me where it needed to go, and in the process, I realized who my readers will be 🙂

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