Saturday, August 29, 2020

5 Tips for Finding Your Readers

Edie here. Today I'm excited to welcome an author I love to The Write Conversation. She has a new release for Christmas and I cannot wait to dive into Her Christmas Dream! Be sure to give Jo a great TWC welcome!

5 Tips for Finding Your Readers
by Jo Huddleston

Remember the scene in the movie “The Princess Diaries,” where Mia (Anne Hathaway) sits on the low stone wall outside of her high school before classes began? A boy came along looking for space to sit there also. He sat on her lap before realizing she was there. Mia told her best friend about the incident and wailed, “I’m invisible, nobody sees me,” or something like that. She didn’t fit in and felt like nobody even saw her much less paid any attention to her. I could identify with Mia when I first tested the waters as a writer.

When I decided I wanted to write for publication, all I had were aspiration and hope. I had not studied the craft of writing, but I had loved books and reading all my life. So I sent my first short stories to Good Housekeeping and Ladies Home Journal. Those form rejection letters came back to me with haste! It didn’t take me long to discover that I needed help if I were to realize my dream of writing The Great American Novel.

I scoured the racks in the mall bookstore and found magazines about writing. I bought Writer’s Digest and The Writer. Idevoured their contents, where I found book titles about all aspects of writing. Also, I learned there were market guides and ordered one.

From articles in those writing magazines, I learned how significant was my lack of knowledge about writing for publication. Paramount was that I didn’t know a writer needed to study a publisher’s or publication’s writer’s guidelines to enable her to write to their reading audience.

As I studied the craft of writing and used market guides, I targeted denominational Sunday school papers. I followed their guidelines for submission and began to have my articles and short stories accepted for publication. From their guidelines, I knew these publications’ audiences, what their denominational readers expected in their reading material.

But when we don’t know our specific reader expectations, how do we learn who our readers are and what they want in their reading experience? 

5 tips I’ve found helpful for finding your readers and what they want:
  • 1. Perusing your four- and five-star book reviews on Amazon will help. While reading your them, you’ll probably tend to see in those reviews the words or phrases the reader uses when telling why they liked your book. Make a list of those words and phrases, and they will guide you in your writing. If those good book reviews mention they loved your small town or clean and wholesome stories, it might not be prudent to give these readers mystery stories or psychological thrillers.
  • 2. If you have a Facebook page, you can check out their Facebook Audience Insights. These insights or analytics give information about people visiting your page and/or reading your Facebook posts. Studying these insights, you can create content that resonates with your typical reader. Facebook insights will also help you to locate other people like the ones in your existing audience. This Facebook data will tell you a lot about the folks interested in what you post on Facebook: their gender, age, job titles, education levels, interests, marital status, and more.
  • 3. On your book’s Amazon sales page, examine the “Customers who bought this item also bought” section to see what other books those interested in your writing have purchased. This information can further help you to formulate in your mind’s eye who your average reader is.
  • 4. Of course, if you write in a genre you love to read (which is a wise thing to do), you could even use your own characteristics to help formulate who your readers are.
  • 5. To help you identify your readers, you can also search this blog, The Write Conversation, for excellent articles on this subject. I typed “readers” in the search bar near the top of the screen, and this post came up: “5 Tips for Collecting New Readers and Connections.” Another search gave me the article, “Tried and True Ways to Attract Readers.”
When you do find your readers, initially, it’s crucial not to bombard them with “Buy my book” messages. Writers first need to build friendships with their readers, letting them know you as you learn about them. Only then will they probably have a genuine and continued interest in what you write, and you won’t have to repeatedly tell them to “Buy my book.”

When you identify your readers and learn about them, you can better give them what they expect from you in your writing. Among other goals, we write for our readers. Strive to do everything you can not to disappoint them, and they will stay with you from article-to-article and from book-to-book that you write.

Oh, and, by the way, reading those writing magazines I bought at the mall bookstore, I also learned about writers’ conferences. I attended my first one in Tulsa, Oklahoma. But among those seasoned writers’ conference-goers, I was so invisible I didn’t even realize I was invisible. I was Mia in Princess Diaries all over again. I’m thankful our learning never ends.


A Christmas romance sprinkled with suspense!

In this sweet romance set in north Georgia, all Marilyn dreams of for Christmas is a relationship with someone who cares for her. Someone who really knows her. A stranger volunteers at the rescue shelter where Marilyn and her best friend George volunteer. George has concerns about Marilyn’s safety if she dates the stranger. When George becomes overprotective of her, will Marilyn choose the bad-boy-stranger or her best friend to spend Christmas with this year?

Read this 20th-century story to find out which one Marilyn chooses.

Jo Huddleston is a multi-published author who writes novels inspired by her fascination with the 1950s and her love of her native American South. Novels in her endearing Caney Creek series, her West Virginia Mountains series, as well as her stand-alone release, Tidewater Summer, are sweet Southern historical romance novels. Visit Jo at her website (, where you can sign up for her mailing list and read for free the first chapters of her novels and novellas.

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  1. Welcome aboard, Jo. Good advice.

    1. Martin, thank you. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  2. Glad to have you on the team!

    1. Tammy, thanks. It was my pleasure to join y'all today.

  3. Wonderful advice Ms. Jo; and welcome to the TWC team. I'm looking forward to learning from and with you ma'am.

  4. Welcome here, Jo! I enjoyed your helpful tips, and look forward to more from you. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Welcome, Jo, and thank you for the helpful tips.

  6. Welcome, Jo. Thanks for the helpful tips and best of luck with the release of your Christmas book. I love the cover!

    1. Julie, you're welcome! So glad you like my new cover!!