Archive for November 1st, 2009
It is no secret that a newbie writer has to make some decision about what resource books they buy. Money is often limited. That is why this find was such an unexpected pleasure. I got it this last year for a $1.00 at my local library. While this edition of Simon and Schuster’s Handbook for Writers CD Rom-Interactive by Lynn Quitman Troyka is from 1999, the content is still quite relevant.
When reading about writing, one tip was offered that I felt was particularly important for a writer to know. Simon and Schuster’s book offers this checklist: (Paraphrased by me.)
Know who your audience is.
Know their ages and genders. Know what ethnic backgrounds. Know their hobbies and interests. Know what they want to read. Then, target your book toward these factors.
Ten years later, this checklist is just as pertinent to a book’s success.
Steven Meltzer, Associate Publisher/Executive Managing Editor of Dutton and Dial covered it in his Iowa SCBWI conference presentation during “the first sentence” exercise. He asked conference writers to first write down a first sentence that would hook the reader. Then he asked various participants to tell him what makes their book appealing to their readers. He asked them to tell a little about why a reader would want to read their book.
He was talking about marketing specifically but in truth marketing starts as soon as an idea is written down. A pb writers knows that there is a difference between what a three-year old likes and what a seven-year old does and takes those factors into consideration when they develop their book’s plot. A mg writer knows what kids that age are interested in reading.
The take-away from this is that while some books might not have been published recently, the value they offer a new writer is very relevant to developing a great career. Being a succesful writer means doing one’s research.