Marketing to Different Audiences

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In my previous post, I considered the narrative issues involved with vastly different ages of protagonists, or, at least, I began to address that complex issue.

I am close to being finished with a second draft of my post-apocalyptic young adult novel, and I am wondering about the differences in audiences for my novels and the effect that range might have on sales (talk about an optimistic attitude—this assumes I am able to be published!). I also have been thinking about the possible amount of audience shifting, meaning older people buying young adult novels and young people buying novels about folks their grandparents’ age.

Certainly, my first novel Evil Lives After, a supernatural thriller, could be marketed to a range of audiences. I think that Baby Boomers would be a target market because of the age of the three main characters. I think another important audience could be a military audience, because several of the main retired men fought in the Vietnam War, which I show in flashback, and two younger characters are Marine officers who fought in the Iraqi War. The third audience would be those who enjoy gothic, horror, and the supernatural, since the book features a psychopathic demon who is the antagonist. I wonder if the horror and supernatural aspect would be enough to bring in readers who are much younger. Would they be interested in a book that features people old enough to be their grandparents as heroes?

In my, as of yet, untitled post-apocalyptic novel, which is a young adult novel, the primary audience would be, of course teens to young adults. The main character in this book is a 16 year old young woman who faces nothing supernatural but equally as challenging and menacing an evil as the older heroes of my first novel. From what I have gleaned from conversation and observation, the reading market of young adult is not simply the designated age but also that of older readers. While hardly a scientific sampling, I think my observation would still hold that many adults read young adult fiction, and I hope they would be interested in the difficulties my young protagonist faces.

Of course, until published, this is a bit of a hypothetical discussion, but it is something I still want to be ready to discuss either with agents or publishers.

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