13 Aug 58. Stop Chasing the Wrong Readers
It’s completely normal to want to have as big of an audience as possible for you book.
You’re writing to connect with many, many people.
But don’t forget focusing on the wrong readers can actually cause you to lose your true audience.
In this episode, I explain why you should stop writing for people who don’t want to read your book anyway and what to do instead.
Mentioned in This Episode
Jump-Start: A free guide to help you jump-start your nonfiction book.
Hey there and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.
I hope your week and your writing are going well.
In today’s episode, I want to invite you to think about who you’re really writing your book for.
Recently I was talking with a coaching client about her book, and she was really on the fence about whether or not she should cut a passage she’d written because it had a Christian element.
She was worried that non-Christians, particularly people who consider themselves to be Spiritual but not religious, would be turned off and wouldn’t want to buy anything else from her.
She was concerned that she wouldn’t be invited to speak at secular events.
Her book isn’t a religious text. It’s a book on leadership.
You probably wouldn’t find it in the Christian section of the bookstore.
But she does consider herself to be a Christian and her faith was very much relevant to this part of her book.
In her case, I coached her to get super specific about her audience.
When it came down to it, she realized her One Perfect Reader, and millions of people like that reader, will, in fact, not be turned off by a mention of her faith.
Her One Perfect Reader has her own faith practice.
This author had gotten caught up in trying to please “all people” even when “all people” aren’t the audience for her book.
I’ve coached many clients who’ve struggled over whether or not to share their political opinions, their religious beliefs and spiritual practices, and their personal opinions on what could be considered controversial topics.
One of my coaching clients believes that the body positivity movement has gone too far and gives women, black women in particular, an easy out to be unhealthy.
That’s likely to be an unpopular opinion even among some of her audience, which consists mostly of black women, but her One Perfect Reader is open-minded and seeking new solutions.
Since this author is writing about health and truly believes that the body positivity movement can be dangerous when taken to extremes, she has chosen to talk about it in her book.
Will some people be upset when they read it?
I’m sure they will.
Will some people decide not to buy her book once they know she holds this opinion?
But her opinion is going in her book.
I have no doubt that many readers will reject her position on body positivity.
But many others will be drawn to her because she’s willing to address a topic they themselves have pondered.
Her willingness to be brave enough to say the unpopular thing and be rejected by one group of readers will position her to attract greater numbers of readers who want to hear more of her truth.
Let’s say she decided to water down her opinion on the issue or leave it out of her book altogether.
What would happen when readers bought her book and came to see her speak at a live event or listened to her podcast?
They’d get the real her and be shocked.
She talks about this very issue from the stage. It’s a part of her platform and whether you or I agree with it or not, sharing it in her book gives readers an authentic view of who she is and what she’s about.
I’m not saying you have to, or should, share all your opinions in your book.
What I am saying is that when you try to please everyone, you’ll end up with a book that ultimately pleases no one.
In episode twenty-three, I encouraged you to take a stand with your book.
That applies here too, but what I’m talking about in this episode can be a bit more subtle.
I’ve seen clients struggle with sharing all sorts of truths that were relevant to their books—that they no longer believe in the religion they were raised with, that their political views are much different from the views of many people in their community, or that they don’t believe every entrepreneur should be chasing seven-figures.
They were all afraid of losing readers.
But who are your readers going to be?
If you’re writing a book on leadership and you’re drawn to write an example on how different political leaders have managed the COVID-19 crisis, for example, but you’re afraid to criticize anyone because you don’t want party loyalists to turn against your book, I would encourage you to stop and think about your decision to either leave the example in or cut it from your book.
Are those party loyalists your audience?
Is your One Perfect Reader a person who’s lacking the critical thinking skills to fairly assess the performance of one of their party’s leaders?
If your answer is: yes, my book is for exactly those people, then by all means, make the cut.
However, if you’re trying to water down your book so you can win those readers over, ask yourself whether or not you like that reasoning.
Here’s the reality. There are certain groups of people who are never going to buy your book anyway.
They’re just not.
Stop worrying about whether or not white people will buy a book with a brown face on the cover.
Stop worrying about whether or not non-Christians will buy a book that discusses your Christian faith.
Stop worrying about whether or not men are willing to learn from women or vice versa.
Focus on the people who are waiting for your book.
If you water down your opinions for your book, you’ll have to water them down everywhere.
On your social media, in your email newsletters, and from the stage.
It’s really hard to present one version of yourself in your book and another in real life.
That’s a trap you don’t want to fall in.
You cannot be held hostage by the opinions of people who, frankly, wouldn’t want to get to know the real you.
If an opinion or perspective is relevant to your topic and will connect to your One Perfect Reader and the core group of people who are just like him or her, don’t worry about what other people will think.
There will always be naysayers.
There will always be people who don’t want your book.
Stop trying to please them because it’s never going to happen.
Instead, write the book that honors your truth and serves the readers who need to hear it.
That’s it for this week’s episode, my friends.
If you’re ready to get started on your book, visit CandiceLDavis.com/jumpstart and grab my free guide to get started writing the book I know you have in you.
Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach Candice L Davis, and I’ll see you next time.
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