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colealpaugh
09-21-2011, 11:51 PM
So I get a teleconference call that includes an editor and the pub's marketing director regarding a MS they are pretty sure they want. But the MD wants me to describe where my book should be shelved in a store and my suggestion for the target audience.

*I hear Nathan's voice somewhere in he back of my head mocking me, saying I should have figured this out before I wrote the first word. Or at least a few weeks ago...*

The problem is that I spend a great deal of effort trying NOT to sound like anyone else. I work hard at writing in a style that attempts to defy categories. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting I'm in any way successful at it. It's just that the dilemma I found myself in was to describe a MS in a way that was counter to how I wrote it, if that makes sense. And yet I know it's part of my job to help this marketing person with her plan to target the book to a specific audience.

The MS is Chris Moore-ish, I said, but she dismissed any comps. That was something else, she said. Is anyone familiar with Moore's Island of the Sequined Love Nun? How would that book's target audience be summed up?

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

backslashbaby
09-22-2011, 03:48 AM
I have not read Moore's work, but your work is wonderful for being so unusual and awesome!

I don't know what you'd call it. Sorry.

I don't remember the details, but a long while ago someone brought up a 'quirky' writing category. Maybe that's a start?

In any case, never change :)

Allen R. Brady
09-22-2011, 04:01 AM
Commercial Fiction. Most of Moore's books qualify as Horror, in my opinion, but bookstores want to shelve them all together, so they tend to put them in their General Fiction section.

Mr Flibble
09-22-2011, 04:16 AM
I spoke with an agent last year and they asked the 'comparable' question, which stymied me. I don't want to be another X, I said, I want to be the first me.

Nice, he said. Have a nice career. (paraphrasing and anyway, not sure about that) but then he rephrased the question and it makes it much easier.


Whose readers do you want to steal?

If I'm writing paranormal UF, I might say Chaos, or Stacia. That doesn't mean I write like them. (or even that I want to steal readers tbh)It means, people who liked their stories should like mine. I don't 'sound' like either of them, but the elements of X story would appeal to people who liked theirs.

This different way of looking at it really helped.

You aren't comparing yourself to anyone. I'm out on sub at the moment with a 'like the Dresden Files and Perdido Street Station' O.o

My book isn't really like either of those in voice/style/subject etc. BUT it should appeal to the same sort of readers. That's what they mean by target audience. Not 'I sound like' or 'this book is a rip off of' but 'If they like X, they should like this too.'

Think about it - have you ever said to a reader friend, 'Oh, if you liked book X, you'll probably like this too.'? That's what it's all about.

Carrie in PA
09-22-2011, 05:48 AM
I spoke with an agent last year and they asked the 'comparable' question, which stymied me. I don't want to be another X, I said, I want to be the first me.

Nice, he said. Have a nice career. (paraphrasing and anyway, not sure about that) but then he rephrased the question and it makes it much easier.


Whose readers do you want to steal?

If I'm writing paranormal UF, I might say Chaos, or Stacia. That doesn't mean I write like them. (or even that I want to steal readers tbh)It means, people who liked their stories should like mine. I don't 'sound' like either of them, but the elements of X story would appeal to people who liked theirs.

This different way of looking at it really helped.

You aren't comparing yourself to anyone. I'm out on sub at the moment with a 'like the Dresden Files and Perdido Street Station' O.o

My book isn't really like either of those in voice/style/subject etc. BUT it should appeal to the same sort of readers. That's what they mean by target audience. Not 'I sound like' or 'this book is a rip off of' but 'If they like X, they should like this too.'

Think about it - have you ever said to a reader friend, 'Oh, if you liked book X, you'll probably like this too.'? That's what it's all about.


That is such an awesome way to look at it. Soooo much better than saying, "My books are like Joe Schmoe's."

colealpaugh
09-22-2011, 11:03 AM
Think about it - have you ever said to a reader friend, 'Oh, if you liked book X, you'll probably like this too.'? That's what it's all about.

Well, I know you're one of those folks who know what they're talking about. I just felt a little like Grasshopper being asked to provide a more...IDK...esoteric answer. The call had a positive result, so I guess I didn't fug it up too badly. Thanks very much for the input. I'm still learnin'.







(@backslashbaby: how lovely!)

Theo81
09-22-2011, 03:15 PM
Well, I know you're one of those folks who know what they're talking about.

Wait...she DOES?

*makes mental note*



I have nothing to add to the sage advice given, but I will say best of luck with it all.

Mr Flibble
09-22-2011, 07:13 PM
Well, I know you're one of those folks who know what they're talking about.

For a certain value of 'know'. I mean I am a self confessed idiot.

But it does help me sometimes to look at things in a different way, and the way that agent rephrased it kind of gave me a lightbulb moment. Thought it might help others.

And we're all still learnin' :D

Phaeal
09-22-2011, 09:51 PM
My target audience is people who will like my book.