Monday, October 18, 2021

How to Know and Market Your Writing to Your Avatar

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Authors hear a lot about using avatars to understand their readers and reach out to them. The original word avatar comes from a Hindu word meaning descent and refers to a deity or guru. In gaming it represents a moveable image that represents a person, especially a virtual person. It is something that represents something else.

For authors, a reader avatar is a personalized illustration of a character, or an ideal reader. So, a reader avitar represents the people most likely to buy your book. Let’s dig in to the how’s and why’s of these ideal readers.

Know Thy Avatar

Identifying and reaching your ideal reader is what separates successful authors form the pack of writers. If you understand the reader and his or her desires, fears, and goals, you can connect. Understanding where they hang out on social media and what words or images appeal to them is how you grab their interest. Once you can do that, there are many benefits.
  • You are equipped to start conversations with your reader
  • You know what images and language to use as you write
  • You know the images and words to create successful memes
  • You can picture your reader
  • You more easily fall in love with your readers and that is key to keeping them as followers
You can be more intimate as you get their fears, goals, and needs of the reader, they discover you get them, you understand them, and you know how to nurture them and their needs.

Developing Ideal Reader Avatars through Interviews and Social listening

To develop the avatar, get to know your readers and list the needs, goals, fears, and obstacles they face. Make a chart or spread sheet to hold the information.

Interview potential ideal readers and ask about their fears, goals, and desires, joys, and more. Ask their ages, career, income, and other facts too, as well as what they like in social media, movies, TV shows, books, and more.

Another way to find your avitar is through social listening. Follow media sites you discover they like and listen to discover what grabs their attention or inspires their responses. Pay attention to the language used and phrases that are echoed by others. These are key phrases often tied to popular images that matter to your avatar. Use those images and words in your books and marketing. Keep a list of them.

These two ways help narrow down the reader. Then you can write a description from the information and name the avatar. For example, my reader Julie is a mom of three with a part time job, volunteers at church and in her children’s activities, and makes sure they eat healthy, and they incorporate faith into home life. Biggest fear: her child will walk away from God.

Discover Additional Information through Research

Statistics and studies that include demographics also help identify more about the audience. As a Christian writing for moms and their families, I follow and their studies. Studies of moms, households, and family faith habits reveal that moms who create a spiritual environment in the home are intentional, and they consider the home to be spiritually healthy if they pray together every day or two and read the Bible together at least once a week. Research shows that mothers are the main interactors in the home and the leaders in faith formation of the children. That’s a lot of information to include with my ideal readers.

Demographics can also be found through typing a URL of a favorite reader website into Alexa or with other online sites that track buyers and readers.

Marketing to Your Avatar

As seen above, knowing your avatar also generates a list of images, words, and phrases that grab their attention. Use these as you create memes, posts, and ads. The phrases are great for subheads and long tail SEO phrases. 

Find the repeated ideas from several interviews. For my audience, this includes how moms love wake up their children, pride in seeing them stand up on their own, and the joy of seeing their children bond and support one another. The fears may include fear of the child’s future spouse not sharing their faith and worry they have failed in an area or not appeared authentic. These are fodder for examples in books and make great blog post prompts.

When you are interviewed about your related book, use the key phrases and imagery that attracts your avatar. That makes you more memorable. The interview can open doors for more people to find and follow you.

Marketing is important in one-on-one settings too. When you meet a possible ideal reader ask the same questions to see if he or she is a match. Start a conversation based on the shared goals or fears of you readers. Share some freebies from your website they can download to develop the connection. This helps the person view you as someone who cares about them. It’s important to give first rather than trying to sell. It develops a meaningful relationship and also allows you to know your readers better.

The more you can share ideas with solutions for your ideal readers, the more your audience will grow and so will your sales. You’ll be equipped to fill your reader’s cup with what she needs.


Karen Whiting (WWW.KARENWHITING.COM) is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-seven books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, The Gift of Bread: Recipes for the Heart and the Table reflects her passion for bread and growing up helping at her grandparent’s restaurant. Check out her newest book Growing a Mother’s Heart: Devotions of Faith, Hope, and Love from Mothers Past, Present, and Future. It's full of heartwarming and teary eyed stories of moms.

Karen has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than eight hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Crosswalk. Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting Pinterest KarenWhiting FB KarenHWhiting


  1. Thanks for defining “reader avatar” and giving specific ideas on what questions to ask & how to use those questions. Appreciate your expertise. :)

  2. Karen, this is great information. I'm bookmarking for future reference.