Why Booksellers and Publishers Shouldn’t Target Audiences
As an author, when you submit your book proposal or final manuscript to a publisher one of the first questions you are asked is: “What is your target audience?”
This seems to me to be backwards, and I hope one day the flaw in this scheme is realized by publishers and agents before it’s too late.
Allow me to explain.
When The Hunger Games was a new and hot read, I’d walk into Barnes and Noble and see elderly people sitting up in the cafe reading these teen-geared books.
I can only name a number of adults on one hand who have not read the Harry Potter books.
My wife and I are in our 30’s and collectively, our favorite book genres are kids and teen books. Very rarely, if ever, do we browse through the general fiction section of a book store.
Movies, unlike books, don’t target just particular audiences, and exclude the rest of the world. They target, for the most part, everyone.
When The Lord of the Rings movies came out, they didn’t just advertise the series to sci-fi/fantasy fanatics at comic conventions. Turns out, it wasn’t only sic-fi nerds that reveled in the franchise, but everybody from kids to grown-ups, men and women.
Almost everyone watches Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks movies, even if kids aren’t present.
I think books, to gain a wider readership, need to be categorized as movies are, by rating (G, PG, PG-13, and R). Let’s face it, there are some PG-13 rated books in the kids section and R rated books in the teen section and G rated books in the general fiction section.
Why can’t R.L. Stine be on the same shelf as Stephen King? And then, if you read the back of the book, there’s a rating on it like at the movie store (remember those?): Suitable for readers uder 13.
I don’t like books being so exclusive. One of my favorite books of all time is Little Women, yet publishers wouldn’t ever dream of marketing that book to me.
What do you think on this subject? I mean, I get separating history books from computer books, but fiction? Just put the appropriate parental warnings on the back and we’ll call it even.
I’m tired of Barnes and Noble deciding what books would be best for me, because quite frankly, they’re usually wrong.