Authors are often asked this question, as I was at an author’s panel I participated in not long ago. When I write, do I have a particular audience in mind or do I write for myself? Each author is different. Here is my perspective.
In my case, the short answer is both – I write for myself and for a particular audience. In general, women in the U.S. read far more fiction than do men. In the mystery/thriller genre, women readers still outnumber men with about 60% of thriller readers being women. Do I write specifically to target women readers? Again, yes and no; I am certainly conscious of the fact that most of my readers will be women, but I don’t think I am directly crafting my story for women.
In my case, I admit that I first, write for myself and here is my reason. The main reason is that I’m too old to waste my time trying to satisfy others. But primarily, I am a huge fan of the mainstream mystery/thriller genre. Give me a Steve Berry or Preston & Child or a David Baldacci or Harlan Coben novel and I’m a happier than a pig in mud! I’m not saying that I’m in their league – yet, but I honestly feel that if I can write a good mystery/thriller, it will be a good fit in that genre and attractive to the readers and lovers of that genre – both women and men.
I also feel very comfortable writing stories with strong women characters that will appeal to women and men as well.
With regard to race, as a black author, I am sometimes asked if I consider myself a writer of black or urban fiction and my answer is a resounding no. I have nothing against black or urban fiction; it’s just not what I do. I consider myself an author who happens to be black. I want to write good great contemporary mystery/thrillers that appeal to everyone who loves that genre. My readers skin color and gender, to me, are irrelevant. That is one of the wonderful things about being a fiction author – there is something out there for everyone.
The reviews for my second novel, The Torch is Passed, are coming in and are better in some ways than the reviews for my first book, The Pharm House. A review that I received recently summed up exactly what I am going for.
“This book challenged my preconceptions of the characters you expect to find in the social and business class that the Hardings move in, especially for the South. I had not known Andrea Harding was a person of color until the story was well underway and this added a layer of complexity that deepens the plot. I said challenged my preconceptions because I had to recognize that the surprise I felt was totally my own, and forced to me to reconsider my assumptions.”
That review made my day.
So, to answer the question, whom do I write for? I write for lovers of modern mystery/thrillers. As an author, if that’s not your cup of tea, I take no offense if you choose not to read my books. But if that genre is in your “wheelhouse”, then check out my books.
Bill Powers https://authorbillpowers.com
“The Torch is Passed: A Harding Family Story” by Bill Powers
Now available in both print and ebook:
Re-release of The Pharm House, debut suspense/thriller by Bill Powers –ebook $0.99