Audience: Before Publishing and Before Writing YA Lit

There’s so much out there about becoming published – it’s like having the ocean in front of you and only a teaspoon to try to contain it all. One of the struggles that authors tend to face in writing their book is to figure out their audience and write well to that audience.

Today while I was reading more about becoming a published YA author, I discovered something interesting that I had never thought about much before. Make sure your book is readable to your audience. According to Wheatmark, a book publisher, before you ever even write your books’ first sentence, “think seriously about who [you] believe is going to buy and read [your] book. They say that aspiring authors often say “’This is a book anyone would want to read.’” But that this notion is totally idealistic and wrong. So, before you pick up your pen or open your laptop, take a minute to figure out if your main audience of 12-18 year olds will even enjoy or relate to your story. And, if you can possibly narrow your target audience even further (i.e. teens interested in history or teens dealing with off-beat family and/or social issues) that’s even better. Audience, audience, audience.

And, as the folks at emphatically say in their article “Break Writer’s Block: Choose Your Audience, “audience is everything.” So, how do you write to your audience of adolescents? The best advice I found (also on’s same article) was to get the mindset of your audience. Lucky for us, we have all been teens before. Even though what’s ‘cool’ or ‘fashionable’ changes, the desires and struggles of teenagers don’t. When you write a page, be thinking, “would 15-year-old me dig this?”


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