From One Writer to Another - Know Your Target Audience

I have a secret to tell you. I don't think The Photograph is the best novel ever written. I don't think it's the best contemporary young adult novel that will be published in 2014 or June of 2014. I do think The Photograph is a great novel for a specific group of readers–my target audience. The Photograph is targeted towards girls ages 12-16, specifically athletic girls. The teenagers who fit that demographic are much more likely to enjoy the book than other readers. For instance, the novel has an element of mystery and intrigue in it which may attract readers not in my target audience. If you are a 33 year old man, you may still read and like The Photograph, but the chances are much lower.

As an author, it is important to know who your readers are for each book. The writing in my Zelda books is different than The Photograph which is different than the current project targeted towards an older YA audience. You can't write for every reader. It doesn't work. Plus, the target audience also affects your marketing and promotions. Let me give an example.

My Zelda books have a unique audience. Reading level wise, they are targeted for students in grades 3-5 (ages 7-11), specifically kids who like dogs. However, the secondary target audience is pug owners of all ages and demographics. People love their pugs and love anything to do with a pug, so they buy Zelda books. So in addition to Author Day presentations at elementary schools, I also market Zelda through ##pugchat on twitter (it's a thing) and will be selling books at Pug Fair in September (also a real thing).


Who is your target audience? How do you market to your audience?

The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale

The Adventures of Zelda Today is the day! You can now purchase the Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale! I am really excited about this project. Every step of the way, I've enjoyed this project and I'm so happy with the final product.

Earlier this year, I posted rough drafts of six of the 13 chapters of The Adventures of Zelda. But, since those rough drafts, the story has undergone revision and I think you will like the changes. You can read the first chapter below.

Finally, I'd love for your help to spread the word about this book. The best way for people to buy this book is through your recommendation. Share the book and please post reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or your favorite book seller. Reviews are so important for indie authors!

You can buy ebook versions on every platform for $2.99. Paperback copies can be purchased from Amazon or from me. I always have copies on hand to sell for $8.


Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, NookiBooks

Once again, thanks for your support!

The Adventures of Zelda: A Pug Tale

Chapter 1: Beginnings

I spent my first two years in a small, crowded house with a woman, her four children, her boyfriend, and three other pugs. I struggled to eat enough each day because I was the smallest of the pugs. While the other pugs slept, I had to sneak my way to the food bowl. Eating was the only reason I left my cage. The man of the house wasn’t happy; he took his anger out on us, and I didn’t want to get in trouble with him. Everyday I woke up and survived one more day, dreaming of a better life someday down the road.

One day I awakened to the woman entering the house. She walked straight to my cage and lifted me into her arms. She never held me. Only the kids did. She carried me outside and placed me in the arms of a stranger–a woman I had never seen. This woman was standing with a man who had a big smile.

I was so scared. I didn’t know how to react, so I went limp in her arms. She carried me into a car, and the man drove us away, never to return.

I don't know how Hannah and Nate found me that day, but I am glad they did. Hannah, Nate, Lucy, and Ben are my new family. Hannah and Nate are the woman and man who rescued me from my old home. Ben and Lucy are their kids. Ben is loud, energetic, and roughly half the size of Nate. I play many games with Ben. Lucy is much smaller than Ben, but she is super cute, and I love snuggling with her at night.

“Why is she so wrinkly, Dad?” Lucy asked, the first day I came home.

“Because she’s a pug,” Nate said.

“Do all pugs have wrinkles?” she asked.

“Yes, they do. That’s what makes them special. That and the smashed face,” Nate said.

“I think her wrinkles are cute,” Lucy said. When Lucy said those words, I knew she was going to be a great friend.

My new family calls me Zelda. I spend my days roaming the house, sleeping, eating, sleeping some more, playing, sneezing and snorting, barking at other dogs, and going for walks. Food is always in my bowl, and I can eat whenever I am hungry. I can't remember the last time I was locked up in my crate. Instead, my family and I play with my angry bird, my owl, tennis balls, and any other toy I can find. When I get really excited, I run full speed laps through the house. My family calls the laps pug sprints.

Walks are a brand new adventure for me. When Hannah or Nate tie their shoes, I know it's time for a walk. I run in circles around Hannah or Nate trying to avoid the harness, but they always catch me. Honestly, I don't mind the harness. I run in circles because I am so excited to go for a walk.

When the front door opens, I bolt down the porch steps, pulling Nate or Hannah with me. I hit the grass and sneeze five or six times, but I love the fresh air and the never-ending scents. During our walks, I run from one edge of the sidewalk to the other. On a good day, the squirrels are running across the grass and up the trees. If I wasn’t leashed, I am sure I could catch one.

My favorite part of the day is when the darkness comes. I snuggle with Lucy or Ben and fall asleep with my best friends.

I am a lucky pug. When I wished for a better life, I never imagined my dream would come true. But my new life comes with challenges. I am not sure how to be a good pug in this new environment. I want to make my family proud, but sometimes my territorial, stubborn instincts take control. Some days I want more freedom, or more treats, or more friends. Is that too much to ask?


The Ins and Outs of Self-Publishing

Today's post is going to tackle some of the questions associated with self-publishing. Self-publishing is a relatively new phenomenon, but the self-publishing industry is growing tremendously. Some authors are bypassing traditional publishing offers in favor of self-publishing or looking into hybrid models of self-publishing and traditional publishing. But, many misconceptions remain about self-publishing. Drawing on my experience as a self-published author, this post explains the ins and outs of self-publishing.

The Ins (the Good Stuff)


The best aspect of self-publishing is control. With self-publishing, the author has complete control over the process. The self-published author chooses an editor, the cover design, and the marketing strategy. The self-published author doesn't have to worry about his or her book's message or changing content to fit the publisher's wants or needs. The self-published author makes all final decisions on the book without an agent or publishing company hanging over his or her head. As an author, the freedom of self-publishing is very attractive.


The process to get published through traditional options is tedious. An author needs to write a query letter to attract an agent. After securing an agent, an author and his or her agent composes a lengthy book proposal to send to publishers. If a publisher expresses interest, a fiction author sends the entire manuscript for review. Then the publisher may sign the author. Traditional publishing isn't easy and lots of great authors are rejected.

On the other hand, self-publishing is simple and anyone can do it. (Seriously!) The formatting for both kindle and smash words ebooks is simple and easy to learn. Furthermore, there are a variety of programs and service providers who will do the formatting for you at an affordable cost. But, honestly, if I can learn how to do it, I'm sure you could in a few hours. The truth is anyone can publish and when faced with the choice between the long, detailed traditional process and the ease of self-publishing, it's easy to understand the popularity of self-publishing.

Infinite Listing

Often with traditional deals, a publisher sets the print run number and then if the initial print doesn't do well, they will take the book off the market. With self-published books, your book is in print forever or until you take the book off the market. Amazon or Smashwords are not going to take your book off their sites after a certain amount of time. I use Amazon's Createspace to print and sell paperback copies of When Light Hits the Path. When a customer orders a book off Amazon, the book is printed and shipped. I also can order books to be shipped to me for distribution and selling. With self-publishing, your book listing is infinite. Even if a book's sales start slow, they can grow over your career.

Almost Instant Money

The last in of self-publishing is getting paid. With self-publishing, an author is paid almost instantly for book sales. Amazon Kindle and Createspace pays monthly for the previous month's sales. Smashwords pays every quarter. This is completely different from traditional publishing. With traditional publishing, an author receives an advance with a book deal and additional royalties after the book is successful on the market. But many times, an author doesn't receive royalties until 2 years after the advance. That's a long time to wait and hard on an average author's budget.

Outs (the Bad Stuff)


The process of self-publishing may be easy, but marketing your book is not. Marketing and publicity for a self-published book is crucial for it to sell. A self-published author needs to grow a fan base to sustain its work. This marketing is time-consuming and not easy. With traditional publishing, an author has the advantage of working with a publisher which helps significantly with the marketing of a book and author.

Up Front Costs

For a self-published author to succeed, his or her work must be professional. This means they need to hire an editor or two, hire a designer for the cover, and maybe pay for some advertising. All of these costs can add up to a few thousand dollars and this is before you make a dime off your books. If you are just starting off as an author and are low on cash, the up front costs can be really tough.

The Verdict

Self-publishing seems to have more ins or advantages according to my list. But honestly, the two outs for self-publishing are big ones. So I'm on the fence still. I am exploring both options for future works and will see what the cards have in store for me.

Do you read self-published books?
What do you think of self-publishing?


My blog, is a resource for readers and writers. I post articles on reading, writing, and publishing, along with book reviews and an occasional pug lover's post. My email newsletter includes exclusive articles, giveaways, and stories in addition to my blog posts. If you are not an email subscriber, I invite you to sign up here and to invite a friend to sign up so our community can grow. Thanks for your support! Peace & Love, Kristen