Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Post with Liesel Hill!

Today I am super excited to have Liesel K. Hill here to talk about nailing down your audience!! Seriously, I'm super excited about this because Liesel has a book coming out and I am ALWAYS trying to help authors spread the word about their books.

Before we get to her post, take a look at this:

In a world where collective hives are enslaving the population and individuals have been hunted to the verge of extinction, Maggie Harper, and independent 21st Century woman, must find the strength to preserve the freedom of the future, but without the aid of her memories.

After experiencing a traumatic time loss, Maggie is plagued by a barrage of images she can't explain. When she's attacked by a creep with a spider's web tattoo, she is saved by Marcus, a man she's never met, but somehow remembers. He tells her that both he and her creepy attacker are from a future in which individuals are being murdered by collectives, and Marcus is part of the rebellion. The collectives have acquired time travel and they plan to enslave the human race throughout all of history. The flashes Maggie has been seeing are echoes of lost memories, and the information buried deep within them is instrumental in defeating the collective hives.

In order to preserve the individuality of mankind, Maggie must try to re-discover stolen memories, re-kindle friendships she has no recollection of, and wade through her feelings for the mysterious Marcus, all while dodging the tattooed assassins the collectives keep sending her way.

If Maggie can't fill the holes in her memory and find the answers to stop the collectives, the world both in her time and in all ages past and future will be doomed to enslavement in the grey, mediocre collectives. As the danger swirls around her and the collectives close in, Maggie realizes she must make a choice: stand out or fade away...

*New Adult futuristic dystopian fantasy

Sounds pretty amazing doesn't it? Check it out on goodreads.

And now, on to the post!!

Nailing Down Your Audience


Do you ever notice how things are getting more specific and specialized these days? With the growth of technology and the advent of the internet, people are smarter than they’ve ever been.

I can remember watching an episode of Star Trek: TNG back in the day, and there was a young boy—probably twelve—who was complaining to his dad that he didn’t want to take calculus. His father told him it was mandatory and he had to take it. I remember thinking, Yeah right. No one takes calculus at that age! After all, I took one semester of pre-calc in high school, and let’s just say it cured me of any mathematical aspirations.

Yet, now…I think Calculus-at-twelve may happen. Most of our grandparents survived just fine as young married people, as long as they had high school diplomas. Their parents didn’t even need that. In our lifetimes we’ve seen that change to needing college, then to needing graduate school, and now it’s all about marketing to the global community. Specifics and specialization are the ticket to the future.

Defining Your Audience

In the industry of writing, just like any other, specifics and specialization are going to be your ticket.

When I wrote my first book (a historical fiction that won’t be out until late 2013), I tried to be specific about my audience, but I was a greenie and couldn’t figure it out. All writers want to be read by everyone. Of course we do! It’s only natural, but it’s not particularly realistic either.

If you want to succeed as a writer, find your niche, identify your audience, and cater to them. The elusive “others” will trickle toward you naturally if you excel at impressing your niche audience.

Genres and audiences are becoming more and more specific. It’s important to find a balancing point between audience-specific and so-specific-it’s-confusing. In other words, DO specify your book as an adult historical romance. DON’T try to sell it as an adult historical fantasy with elements of steampunk, erotica, and dystopia.

See the difference? You need simple, but specific. (Not at all confusing, is it?)

My debut novel, Persistence of Vision, which will be out later this year (concrete release date still pending) is a futuristic dystopian fantasy. When I originally queried for it, I actually classified it as a scifi. My publisher had no problem with that, but as time went on, I realized that classification was incorrect. Hard-core scifi readers would be horrified. So I started calling it a fantasy (which it is) and not until I started blogging did I realize it was truly a dystopia.

My point is that your book can be classified in many different ways, but you don’t always need to hit on every single one. As long as you know what your book is about and who (audience-wise) would be interested in it, you’ll be successful!

New Adult Classification

One thing I don’t think the industry defines well enough is audience vs. genre. You need both to classify your book but, in my mind, they are two distinct things. Audience is usually age and gender. Genre is the shelf it would be under on Goodreads.

So, Audience = Male or Female, Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, Middle Grade, Children’s, Baby’s.

(You can also be specific in your audience’s demographics, though that usually applies more to non-fiction than fiction, which is our primary subject here.)

Genre = Historical, Scifi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Crime Drama, (there are hundreds so you can fill in your genre of choice, here) etc.

I’m classifying Persistence of Vision as a New Adult dystopian. New Adult is a relatively new classification and is a direct result of the rise in popularity of YA literature. Traditionally, Adult novels have a lot of ‘adult’ (a.k.a. R-rated) content in them. As YA lit has risen, many people gravitate toward it because it’s clean, but they would like to see the same clean reads with older characters.

I am one such individual.

Though I greatly adore many YA novels, as a genre, it’s just not usually my thing.  I get annoyed with teenaged drama VERY quickly. I like to see adults dealing with adult problems. (Welcome to the world!) I think that’s why books like Pushing the Limits (awesome read!) are so popular. It’s about teens, but the teens aren’t dealing with high school drama for the most part. They’re dealing with very adult, real-world problems, and that makes it compelling.

So, basically, New Adult means it reads like a YA (PG-13 or lower) but has adult characters rather than teenaged ones.

Everyone get all that? Clear as mud? Awesome! Remember: God is great, reading is good…and people are crazy! (Which is what makes writing fiction so fun!) :D

 Happy Monday!


Wow, what a great post! Thank you, Liesel! 

For your stalking* convenience, here's where you can find her:

Liesel's Blog

*Please don't stalk in a literal sense. That would just be creepy.


  1. Great post Liesel on finding your book's niche. You're right that if you characterize it wrong that your readers will be expecting something else and get disappointed. Good luck with your book.

  2. Thanks so much for having me today, Emily! I had a blast. (And thanks to Natalie for her kind words. :D)

  3. Great thoughts, here....and oh so yes on not disappointing your readers because you've not figured out your audience!


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