But the other day I got notes back from a critique partner who is the harshest, most helpful writer-reader I've ever me. I seriously will send her a hug for not laughing me out of the writing world after she read my awful first chapter as it was before the ten million rewrites it has undergone.
As usual, her advice was fantastic. But it was the comment she put at the end which really stuck with me. "If you want, I can pass it to my MG son to have a read." (That's not an actual quote. I just like using "quote marks.")
Now, my book is a MG, and he would be my target audience. And all of a sudden I was AFRAID. It's different sending your work to another writer, than it is to sending it to someone who is purely a reader. Because they will be treating your work as a BOOK book, like something you could buy in a shop.
Suddenly I was worried that I didn't have enough action, or that he would get bored if he read it. I remembered that my target audience is not an adult, or a writer, or a teen. It is an eight-to-twelve-year-old.
So I have an insecurity that I'll have done hundreds (maybe not hundreds) of rewrites and edits and IT JUST WON'T CLICK WITH MY TARGET AUDIENCE.
But now I'm trying to FACE my insecurities, and be like Nike (You know... "Just Do It."). I'm going to find some MG readers and I'm going to ask them to read my book. Because it's always important to remember who you're aiming your book at.
This feels like a really weird insecurity, because a lot of you might have already sent your work out to your target audience and be wondering what I'm talking about. So if you write YA, do teen readers terrify you? Have you ever written, for example, a romance aimed at women but not gotten another woman to read it? (You, sadly, don't count as your own target audience.) Do you keep your target audience in mind when you're writing, or do you come up with the story first and THEN worry about who you're aiming for? (Which is what I did with this current WIP.)