Let’s untangle the web surrounding the question, “Who is my Most Likely Reader?” Think of your story. Who are the central characters and what are their ages? What is the theme of your story?
To clarify, let me use my first historical romance as an example. Promise of Tomorrow is a historical romance set in Johnstown, PA during the flood of 1889 that killed over 2,000 people. My central figures are Jack, a blue-collar worker at Cambria Iron Works and Alaina, a nanny for prominent members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. Since this is a romance, the central figures will be, of course, my hero and heroine. My theme is that people being more important than things. This is also a Christian romance, which is important to know as well.
Romance is driven by its broad appeal to women (91%). No surprise there. So let’s say for example that an ABA romance enjoys the benefits of appealing to the (pulling a number out of thin air here) 40 million romance lovers in the world. Then a Christian themed romance, as a subgenre of romance, will appeal to roughly a third of that number, narrowing the field of my potential readership significantly. Because my story features history, it will further divide my readership between those who love historical fiction and those who hate it.
Now let’s get back to finding our MLR. I see that my audience is comprised of history-loving romance readers who shy away from bodice-rippers, preferring clean, Christian romances. Most fall in the age range of 30-54. They are women. Issues important to my MLR are not necessarily going to be related to current issues since I’m not writing contemporary, therefore I have some leeway in my choice of theme. I consider more what is important to the Christian in general, then what is going to be of utmost importance to the Christian woman specifically.
So why is this information important? When you do a market analysis for a publishing house, they will want to know that you’ve done your research and understand the needs of your target audience. It also, as I suggested earlier, makes it easier to market your books. In my case, I won’t bother stopping a teenage guy and try to get him to purchase my books. Nor would I ask an adult male. But if I was writing a western themed romance and the guy was wearing a Stetson. . .
S. Dionne Moore started writing in 2006. Her first book, Murder on the Ol’ Bunions, was contracted for publication by Barbour Publishing in 2008. In 2009 she moved on to writing historical romances as an outlet for her passion for history. In 2010 her second cozy mystery, Polly Dent Loses Grip, was a 2010 Carol Award finalist and she was also named a Barbour Publishing 2010 Favorite New Author. In 2011 her first historical romance, Promise of Tomorrow, was nominated a 2011 Carol Award finalist, and appears in the compilation, Promise Brides.
Born and raised in Manassas, Virginia, Moore moved to Greencastle, PA in 1993, then to Mercersburg in 2009. Moore enjoys life in the historically rich Cumberland Valley where traffic jams are a thing of the past and there are only two stoplights in the whole town. For more information, visit her Website at www.sdionnemoore.com. Follow her on Twitter: @sdionnemoore