Mistake 17: Not Knowing Who Your Audience Is

Publish date:

70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes by Bob Mayer, from The Writer's Digest Writing Kit

Why this is a mistake: Too often writers disconnect from the people on the other side of the writing (the readers); there’s a breakdown in effective communication.

Image placeholder title

Every type of written material is geared toward a certain type of reader. A technical writer has to know who the consumer of the manual would be. A writer for a magazine has to know what demographic that magazine targets. Genre fiction writers should know what type of readers gravitate toward that genre.

The solution: Study the end-product of your target publication, or the best-sellers of your chosen genre. If you want to write for magazines, study those magazines, their advertisers, and their core demographics. As a novelist, I go to bookstores and simply sit there and watch people who wander the stacks. Try it sometime. Watch how people select books. What stops them? What catches their eye? Is it the cover designs? Titles? The back cover copy that succinctly tells them what the story is about? Go online and watch chat groups of readers. See how they discuss books and how they feel about what they read. Always, always think about your audience, what they are reading and what they want to read.


Jane K. Cleland: On Writing the Successful Long-Running Series

Award-winning mystery author Jane K. Cleland describes what it's like to write a long-running book series and offers expert advice for the genre writer.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: #StartWrite, Virtual Conference, and New Courses

This week, we’re excited to announce free resources to start your writing year off well, our Novel Writing Virtual Conference, and more!


20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer's Digest website. In this post, we've collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.


Carla Malden: Writing With Optimism and Innocence

Screenwriter and author Carla Malden explains why young adult fiction and the '60s go hand-in-hand and how she connected with her main character's voice.


Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Talking About the Work-in-Progress

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake writers make is talking about the work-in-progress.


Greta K. Kelly: Publishing Is a Marathon

Debut author Greta K. Kelly reveals how the idea for her novel sparked and the biggest surprise of her publication journey.

Poetic Forms

Mistress Bradstreet Stanza: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the Mistress Bradstreet stanza, an invented form of John Berryman.


Capital vs. Capitol (Grammar Rules)

Learn when to use capital vs. capitol with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.


On Writing to Give Grief Meaning and Write Out of Challenging Situations

Author Lily Dulan explains why writers have to be willing to go to difficult places inside themselves for their writing to make a positive impact on ourselves, others, and the world.