Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Knowing My Audience

Flickr Credit: Neal Fowler

My mom buys an off-brand of band-aids, which is in the bathroom, since that’s a great place to bleed. On it is a group of smiling children.

I don’t know if you have ever needed a band-aid, but I have had paper cuts and scrapes and bike accidents and tears and let me tell you this: when I need a band-aid I am usually not smiling.

I have concluded that perhaps this off-brand needs to reconsider its audience.

All right, I get it. We don’t like buying products that have crying people on them. Boo-hoo, blood and infections and crap. Just perks up your day, I’m sure.

But it’s funny, because I’ve never given a lot of thought to my audience before. It strikes me now that I’m in an actual editing phase of working with a novel; the first draft results in incredibly liberal writing, as perhaps you yourself know. When you write, you write for you and the story and the fifteen minutes you have before Dad insists it’s time to go to bed you have school in the morning.

It’s the later drafts when you realize, “Hey, somebody might read this.”

The band-aid box really isn’t looking for smiling people. The reason that company makes money is because people have accidents and pain in their life. If I’m completely honest, I don’t believe that a simple band-aid does much to create smiles either—what they do is fill a need.

If you have a band-aid, you’re protecting a wound from infection, you’re providing an environment for it to heal, and you’re potentially preventing the spread of disease as bacteria pass from your wound to the environment around you. Also, for some reason band-aids make me feel better. It’s a comfort item.

That is why people buy band-aids.

This begs the question: why would someone read my story?

There’s not as much a need for my story to be told. You will not get an infection if you do not read my book, nor is it likely that its pages will prevent the spread of S. aureus.

Why would someone read my story? And what do I want them to know coming away from it?

I’m not sure I have all the answers right now. I know that I do have a message I’ve been toying with—you can bargain with destiny. It’s not a popular message, either, and probably not a big motivator.

Why would someone read my story?

And if they would, who would that person be?

Band-aids look to the bleeding to make their money. I have to look to the reading to discover where I might make mine. There is sentiment, and storytelling, lessons learned and passions unexplored. There’s dreams. There’s pain.

But why would someone read my story?

And, if they would, will I ever find them?


  1. Wow, this was really inspirational. I love how you took the commonplace band-aid and used it to present the doubt that a writer inevitably faces, and melding it with science too. It's true, though, that we have to identify our target audience, hence the pesky genres and categories.

    P.S.: I'd read your story because you're awesome and you've already found me. *winks*

    1. Wow, glad you liked it. :D It's funny the comparisons we make, but writers can get ideas from all sorts of places, no? Also, science is awesome, and it suits my audience vibe.

      (And be careful. ;) I might take you up on that in a month or so. XD)

    2. Mmm yes. Who doesn't love science? Even if you dislike the theory, you can't say no to wormholes and octopi from hell and glowing bacteria.

      We're going to be able to read your work? *flail* *happydance* I promise to be veeeery careful not to dance off a cliff! XD

    3. Octopi from hell? I mean, that sounds awesome but I don't think I've ever been taught that theory formally... You may have to educate me.

      And sure. XD I'll work on snippet posting sometime early in January, maybe.