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Write for Your Market
Genre is a huge decider in telling your story. Say you are a Christian and you want to reach the Christian market. Who in that market are you…

Know and Understand Who Your Readers Are

Sometimes we have a story in our head that we just can’t wait to write but we don’t know how to do it or whom our readers are. Therein is a huge problem. It is extremely important to know and understand who your readers are, what they like to read, why they like reading it and how they want the story to end or what they are going to glean from it. 

Genre is a huge decider in telling your story. Say you are a Christian and you want to reach the Christian market. Who in that market are you writing for? Is it for women? For children? For pastors or teachers? 

As an example, lets look at the Christian romance, or pure romance, market. Yes, there is such a thing. On any day, there are 19,000 Christian romance novels available on Amazon, so it is a serious market – one that you want to be knowledgeable about and consider when writing your story. 

If you are truly writing a Christian romance novel then it should be pure romance, clean – and that doesn’t mean you eliminate sex, which we’ll touch on in a minute – and needs to align with the Bible. The name of Christ needs to enter into it and not as a curse. It needs to deal with every-day issues like right and wrong, struggles, maybe finances, hard decisions. You want it to be realistic – none of us are perfect and your characters shouldn’t be perfect goody two-shoe types, but real, honest people who face the same issues we do.
Now, about sex! Who created sex? God did. He intended for sex to be real, enjoyed, and private. Therefore, your characters will deal with it but there should be privacy in that there is no real bedroom scene but an implied intimacy which could be indicated by the gentle closing of a bedroom door. You aren’t denying sex, but you are not flaunting or exposing it either – you are simply alluding to it. Sex isn’t bad, but it is private.

Do You Have An Agenda?

Do you have an agenda that you are concerned about and want to highlight such as a current event topic like domestic violence, drugs, alcoholism, sex trafficking? Do your research so you can present the issue in a realistic voice without sensationalizing it. Make it personal as though it was something you’ve experienced personally or someone you know has experienced – that is personal, but you don’t have to say you’ve experienced it. You are speaking from a place of knowledge. Remember, knowledge is power so speak from that point and let your character tell the story.

Don’t get preachy. Yep! That is a real turn-off to your readers. You can get your message across by telling a story that has value with warmth, personality, and love.
Make your characters fit the story. If you are writing a novel about a specific time frame in history – or even current day – you want the clothing and scenery to fit. You wouldn’t have a cowboy riding up on a horse with a six-gun in a biblical novel. But you might have a warrior carrying a shield, a sword and/or a slingshot walking or running into the scene. Think of King David. Again, do your research to bring your characters in alignment with the story backdrop.

Give Your Reader A Visual Of The Story

The same should go for your cover. If you are writing a book about a beautiful blonde lady in elegant clothing, you certainly don’t want a cover with a bag lady on the front. Instead, give your reader a visual of the story that is inside. Let them see her or him. By the same token, if you are writing a Christian novel, you don’t want your cover to portray people with little clothing. Stay in line with your characters. Be true to them and you will be true to your audience. 

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About the Authors: Daniel J. Mawhinney & Darlene Shortridge

Dan & Darlene have a passion and a heart for helping independent authors to successfully publish and market their stories worth telling and messages worth sharing.
40 Day Media LLC, PO Box 950794, Oklahoma City, OK 73195
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