Saturday, September 10, 2005

Who Is Your Target Audience

On page 30 of September 8th's The New York Times Book Review section is a blurb discussing trends on their best seller lists, including the survival of two Chick-Lit novels "about overworked women that appeal to overworked women." It got me to thinking.

What is the target audience for Beyond You & Me?

Who is going to be interested in a novel about a 24 year-old woman chafing within the boundaries of her job and her marriage? Add to that, the story takes place in 1975, so it's ancient history for most of today's 24 year-olds. And if you surf the world of blogs, you'll find scores of them by 20-somethings with adventures far more extreme and explicit than mine. The web site for Beyond You & Me has allowed me to get to know some of the fans who have apparently fallen in love with the book. They're usually older (mid- to late-30s), and a surprising number of them are men. So this has prompted a second question:

Why does Beyond You & Me have to have a "target audience"?

That's because it's naive to think otherwise. And I should know better after years of writing newspaper and magazine articles, mostly on assignment. After all, a writer shouldn't expect to suggest an article for Travel & Leisure about dental hygiene problems in large cities, or a piece on the small hotels of Paris to Accounting Monthly. Why should it be any different in book publishing?

The truth is, we look for categories in the things we read. You wouldn't suggest a novel about a 24 year-old woman's coming-of-age ordeal to a reader of thrillers, nor expect to find an audience for it among the fans of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code. In the world or erotica, it's even more stratified: The online erotica site Tit-Elation has asked me to submit some short stories and erotic excerpts from Beyond You & Me. They use a very sophisticated online submission process that includes a checklist of "specialties" that apply to the material submitted. The list is long and expansive, covering "lesbian," "couples," "fetishes," "anal," etc.

The reason is that many readers of erotica are looking for sexual stimulation, not a good read. If you get off reading about threesomes, you don't want to find yourself in the middle of a story about two males. Sorta kills the arousal.


Blogger magdelena said...

This post reflects a conversation I had yesterday with a gentleman friend. He writes the most exquisite spanking stories, which simultaneously inflame my flesh and lick into my intellect. But we acknowledge that they would not be to everyone's tastes given that they are so refined and well written. As you observe, so many readers of erotica are seeking the thrill rather than an immersion in fine writing. Personally I crave both, and when skill meets seduction, the 'speciality' takes a back seat. I relish the eroticism of the tale rather than write it off for not appealing to my kink. Nothing turns me off faster than clumsy, hurried erotica. Maybe I'm in a minority.

I've yet to visit 'Beyond You & Me', but I am already very curious, and that is so seductive in itself.

Thanks for your words at 'Myths and Metawhores'. The avatar isn't me, although I have posed as she does. Like you, I find her so sensual and elegant, embodying my elegant whore essence perfectly.

Warmest Wishes, M.

3:23 PM, September 10, 2005  
Blogger W. S. Cross said...

I hope you will drop by, because you have a fine, elegant style and a real appreciation of the seductive. I feel as though we have a sympathetic aura that reminds me of O. at "Eros, Logos."

8:42 PM, September 10, 2005  
Blogger magdelena said...

I feel the sympathetic aura you speak of. I find you intriguing and your writing fiercely erotic and alluring. I spent some time this afternoon at 'Beyond You and Me' and adored every second. Both pictures and writing seduce me, and I intend to fully enjoy acquainting myself with Cassie and her journey. There is a sense of initiation in the air tonight and it feels divine.

Yours M.

6:59 PM, September 11, 2005  
Blogger W. S. Cross said...

I would encourage others to visit your site and explore it. The mixture of eroticism and erotic photos (including the one of yourself on the leather couch) is intoxicating.

10:47 PM, September 11, 2005  

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