All Writing Has an Intended Readership

One of the things I keep reminding authors we work with is that the writer is one-on-one with the reader. Our society doesn’t have masses standing at the storefront window reading. Instead, writers are intimately connected to their readers–except readers can’t stop the dialogue to ask questions of the writer.

My header for this post implies everything is written for someone. Those who write private journals may question my point, but even that writing has a readership–the one doing the journaling often goes back and reads his or her own journal entries.

Every Wednesday we get a community newspaper, called The Shopper, and it’s filled with ads. Even that newspaper is written for an intended readership.

So, what about your writing? How much time do you spend thinking about your reader? Who is your intended reader? Male? Female? Young? Middle-age? Senior citizen? Education level? Expert? Novice? Somewhat informed? Professional? Parent? Married? Divorced? Single?

Once you know who you’re writing for, you’ll want to spend some time figuring out the answers to these questions:

  • What’s my purpose in writing this work (article, story, book, etc.)?
  • What does my reader already know?
  • What does my reader want to know?
  • What questions might my reader ask me if we were face-to-face?
  • How well have I answered these questions in what I wrote?

You may have a different reader every time you write. That’s fine, but you still need to think about your reader for everything you writer. What’s the reader’s attention span? Sophistication level on this topic? Of course, we know no two readers are exact replicates of each other, but your writing will appeal to specific groups, and you’ll want to make sure you write with those groups in mind.

When possible, get another set of eyes, someone you trust to tell you the truth, if your writing accomplishes its purpose in a reader-friendly manner. If your reader has to plow through your purple prose to get to the nugget, you probably need to do some self-editing (see previous post).

Keep your readership in mind and you’ll enjoy your relationship with your readers for a long while to come. We all know people who can’t wait for the next book by (pick a name). Wouldn’t you love to have readers waiting for your next article or book? Get to know your reader well and make it happen.

Happy writing!


2 Responses to “All Writing Has an Intended Readership”

  1. 1 Wendy Millgate-Mougenot October 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    An excellent article to help with writing (and has helped me with an assignment in my studies! Thank you!)

    Speaking of needing a second pair of eyes! I am happy to be yours for proofreading. you have a tiny error: writer instead of write. See below:

    . That’s fine, but you still need to think about your reader for everything you writer.

    I know you deliberately did that to support your following statement about needing a second pair of eyes!:) We all do!


    • 2 expertbookpublishing November 1, 2010 at 8:52 am

      Thank you for being my proofreader! Actually, I can’t take credit for being so clever as to make the error and see if anyone caught it.

      I really do proofread my posts twice. But, as I noted, I know what I intend to say, so that’s often what I read even if that’s not what’s on the page.

      I appreciate you helping me make my point even if I did it unintentionally!

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