Why Narrow Your Audience Focus


Whose your audience.

No matter how I asked, “What’s your audience?” The author I was speaking with insisted “my books are for everybody.” This from a conference attendee who’d heard from the podium and in the classroom many times—you need to narrow your audience.

I write Historical and Contemporary romance. And everyone knows women are the biggest audience for romance. Some men read romance. But the focus audience is women.

I can say Secrets and Charades audience focus are people who love historicals. Or those who love inspirational fiction. Adding those demographics, I have narrowed my audience more.

We need to define our audience to market to those most likely to read our books. Boys do not read girl books. They don’t. But girl’s read boy books. Whether the main character is male or female, a girl will read it. This is why there’s a huge need of middle-grade boy’s fiction.  Harry Potter is a boy’s book series read by people of all ages around the world. Most boy’s books stay within the demographics of boys and girls between the ages of nine and twelve.


It is important to narrow your audience even on non-fiction. This same conferencee insisted everyone needed to read the miracles God wrought in their life and the devotional would impact everyone. Although everyone might benefit from reading these books, everyone will not read it. The category everyone does not exist in marketing. Although everyone should read the Bible, it is still catalogued under religious. And as powerful as the words of a non-fiction writer may be there still needs be a baseline for your audience. The Purpose Driven Life was marketed to church people but has been read by the unchurched.

I saw two wonderful devotion designed for middle schoolers. The author had written two versions reaching both boys and girls. There were places to doodle. It’s unique to that age. Not my idea for personal devotions but I have one friend who has always doodled when she listens to preaching. It helps her process. Although she is a grandma, she might use these devotionals.


Having a narrow focus can draw all those who love your subgenre. It can also draw those who don’t. Mom reads my historical and tells her teenage daughter a bit about the story. She decides to read it then tells her friends. Statistically, most teens are reading Sci-Fi and Fantasy. I may find a new fan base with other-world readers. History is another world. However, most of my sales come from romance readers.


An audience focus that is too broad is like a play marquee that reads A Play. Your audience may not buy a ticket.

Limiting your audience focuses your writing before you get started. Your vocabulary and jargon must fit your audience. This makes it easier to market your book when it’s finished. Defined readership helps when you write your proposal and during appointments with agents and editors at conferences. It sparks more interest in your writing if your marketing audience meets a need of their house. “My book is for everyone” is a novice response. And no matter how much you believe that, it won’t aid you in getting a contract or even self-publishing sales.

Anyone have any tips for narrowing your audience focus? Please share in the comments.

How Do I Place A Review On Amazon?

As a new author I often asked those who purchase my novel to please post a review on Amazon. Many will say I don’t know how. And if they are like me they need a visual. This post is for all of us who need very specific instruction to complete a task. In this case post a review.

  1. Write your review in Word. Spell check it then save it. The save part is in case something happens after you write it and before you post it and you lose your review.
  2. Copy review.
  3. Go to amazon.com and type the title of the book you want to review in the search panel.    InkedSecrets Charades Cindy Ervin Huff 9781946016140 Amazon.com Books(1)_LI
  4. Click on the title so you are on the order page.
  5. Scroll to the review area. InkedSecrets Charades Cindy Ervin Huff 9781946016140 Amazon.com Books_LI
  6. Near the review stars you will see a write customer review button.
  7. Click write a customer review and paste your review in the box provided
  8. Choose star rating
  9. Add a snappy title and click submit button.
  10. Tell all your friends on FB that you posted a review.

Now you know. 😊 The next time someone asks you to do a review you can do so with confidence.

Where is your favorite place to post reviews?

Hey, if you’ve read Secrets & Charades and haven’t posted a review please do. If you haven’t read it yet here is the link.secret-charades-front-cover




Home from the Conference Now What?

Clip board do list

Now that you’re home from your writer’s conference, it’s time to get organized. While you are decompressing that first day back, take time to send thank you notes. Yes, thank-you notes are still in vogue even though they may be electronic ones.

Thank you notes

Send them to all the people you had appointments with, thanking them for their time. You could send a note to the conference organizer and the instructors whose classes you attended. Gratefulness is an attribute every writer should practice. We all know how good it makes us feel to be thanked and appreciated. Go forth and do likewise.

Send stuff

If anyone requested information you mentioned you had (not proposals), send it now. It is easy to get busy and forget, and when you see them next at a conference, it will be awkward and embarrassing.

Request stuff

Some teachers will say, “If you email me, I will send you my notes.” Or they might have a special email for submission not available at the conference. Be sure to email your request for those things right away. It may take them a little while depending on their schedule to get back to you.

Sort, friend and follow

Sort through the pile of business cards you collected, and if they are not a friend on FB, add them. Follow them on tweeter, and if you use Linkedin, make the connection. Add them to your email list. All those connections are golden.

Post comments and photos on social media. Tag you new friends in pics or mentioned them in your comments.

Organize and rewrite

Organize all your notes. Don’t just place the notebooks on a shelf without perusing pages. You may find you wrote a vital piece of contact information in the midst of your workshop notes. Search for web addresses and books mentioned by teachers, and transfer the info to another sheet. I had written proposal request information from an editor who didn’t have a handout on a page of my notebook. Good thing I found it.

Calendars and time

Time Management is mentioned many times and in many ways at conferences. Plan how you are going to conquer it. Write down your commitment. Get out your calendar (whether on paper or PC) and plot your writing projects. Set goals for completion and days, hours, minutes you plan to write to reach those goals. You don’t want to let a whole year pass and conference time rolls around and you still haven’t submitted to all those who requested your work. Be sure to plan time to edit the things editors and critique groups suggested.

Read and Listen

Go through the books and CDs you purchase and plan when you will read and listen. If you commute to work, you can make that a classroom time with your CDs. Most writers are avid readers so I’m sure you know when your primo reading time is.

Do it now to gain success

The sooner you do these things the more like a writer you are going to feel. The discipline of reaching your conference goals builds confidence. Confidence is just another step toward the success you desired when you attended the conference in the first place.

What’s the first task you do when you come home from a conference?


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If I Hated Book Reports Why Would I Want To Do A Book Review

This is a portion of the books I have read and reviewed. I have many more in my Kindle.

This is a portion of the books I have read and reviewed. I have many more in my Kindle.

I remember as a child burning the midnight oil to get a book read to do the dreaded book report. Even though I loved reading, I hated book reports. I’d wait until the last minute to finish my book. It never occurred to me that the teacher may have never read my book of choice. I couldn’t bring myself to make stuff up like some of the others did. Blurry-eyed I wrote my prose: title, authors name, genre (in grammar school it was referred to as kind of) and a brief retelling of the story. In the upper grades teachers had specific things you need in your report- the theme, what the author was saying in his work and lots of other really boring things to suck the life right out of the story for me.


Book reports turned fun reading into drudgery. By high school the books the teacher assigned as require reading became a millstone around my neck. Those I loved like To Kill a Mockingbird were spoiled by the process of analyzing the content. And others like The Turn of the Screw were painful. I remember the title forty years late because it aptly describes how much pressure a book report put on my teenage mind. I’m ashamed to say I broke my own rule with that book and took to skimming chapters to answer the questionnaire. Even today I couldn’t tell you what it was about or even the author. Only that I was forced upon me along with Shakespeare and Greek Tragedies.

Free at last

Once I was freed from the shackles of required reading I discovered many of the classics to be a delight. Entering into the pages of the story and embracing the characters created by Dickens, Austin, Twain, Bronte, Montgomery and so many others. Enjoying the nuisances that would have escaped me in my youth. Not being forced to read something brought back the joy of reading. It stoked my love of traveling along with characters and being lost in the word pictures.

Writing a book review became easy once I realized I could pour out my passion for these written adventures on the paper. Sharing with others why this romance was delightful or that mystery gave me chills is great fun. Encouraging others to open the pages of an unexpected story brings me joy. Warning readers of the author’s edginess or lack of creativity is part of the responsibility I take on as a reviewer. If I’m disappointed in the storyline or its presentation I feel compelled to give others a heads up.


So I am doing a little happy dance when I realize I have posted almost 100 reviews on Amazon. One hundred opportunities to share my thoughts on not only new books, debut novels but their authors as well. Book reviews build community. Authors request reviews, readers rely on reviews to help them chose a book from the millions available.

Try it, you might like it.

If you’ve never written a book review but think you might like to give it a try come back on Wednesday when I’ll post  10 Tips for Writing Book Reviews. Yes, I do write reviews for non-fiction books and will be sharing tips for those as well. I’ll also share a few tips for writing reviews for a paying market.

Do you love to write reviews? Read reviews? I’d love to hear your thoughts.