MORNING COFFEE 29 - ideal reader one

By Susan Weber

Workshop leaders like to tell aspiring writers to identify their ideal reader. Figure out exactly who you’re writing for and bake that into your story. Then bake it into your cover, title, and synopsis. Ditto your ad copy. Sounds like a lot of baking, but it’s a niche world, so carve out your niche already. I normally find it daunting to describe my ideal reader, but this week I give it a go. She’ll surely evolve in time, but at least she’s moved from the vague idea onto the bustling page.

My ideal reader is a woman with a brain and a functioning libido. Voracious reading is her ode to joy. She consumes everything good, from chick lit to the heave ho masterpiece written for the ages.

Sensuous and smart, her breastplate of burnished steel is scuffed with ordinary scratches. Never cute or frivolous, she stands for the underdog who needs a fair shake. Humor yoked to story is her antidote to tiresome attitudes toward her kind.

She is world savvy and oft wearied by paid and unpaid occupations shouldered most days. She is leader, teacher, daughter, mom. She’s the desperado girl in all her ingenious disguises.

A fan of hearty appetite, she sacrifices rail-thin glamour on the pyres of ridiculous intent. Her age, between nineteen and ninety nine gleams with tantalizing qualities, bravery and stamina at their core. If pressed to narrow that down, forty five give or take a decade sounds about right.

As for the man who happens upon my writing, he’s not my intended reader—especially if his ideal female is high-heeled snootiness and souped-up boobs that obscure the heart. That said, I hope he recommends me to his sisters.

My reader knows she’s respected by my stories. If she’s hard on herself, they unwind her. If she doubts her appeal, they bring her roses. When she laughs they applaud. When she somehow forgets she’s a zillion megawatt shooting star, they oh so gently pick her up and drop her in a reading chair to fly away and join her formidable tribe.

Photo by André Karwath CC BY-SA 2.5