Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Targeting a Readership Part 7: Guest Post by Valerie Valdes

Last week we explored genre and archetypes with respect to Science Fiction Romance targeting a specific type of reader.


That post has links to previous posts in the Targeting A Readership series. 

On a #scifichat one Friday, Valerie Valdes and I had a brief exchange like so:

JLichtenberg : To be a good springboard for a story, a science doesn't have to be "hard," just well known among intended readership #scifichat 12:32pm, Feb 22 from TweetChat

valerievaldes: @JLichtenberg I'd go so far as to coin a phrase and maybe call it an intentioned reader? You create interest, I create intent. #scifichat 12:35pm, Feb 22 from Web

JLichtenberg: @valerievaldes #scifichat I love that - "intentioned reader" - write a guest post on it for http://t.co/YR5WzTuuLF ?

So she wrote the following for us to ponder.   She had not seen last week's post and I hadn't mentioned the post I was discussing last week in my post.  This came out of the blue while #scifichat was discussing a definition for sociological science fiction. 

-------GUEST POST---------

A lot of writers worry about reaching a particular, intended audience with a work that may require specialized knowledge to be fully appreciated. We walk a fine line between trying to appeal to people who aren’t avid followers of the latest news in scientific advancements, or scholars of medieval animal husbandry, or whatever it is that drives us to obsession, and everyone else--a much larger group, to be sure.

Many times, though, we needn’t be so concerned about reaching that select, elusive clique of intelligentsia. Introducing something novel to a reader unfamiliar with the topic won’t necessarily shut them out. Instead of failing to target an intended reader, you may instead create an intentioned reader: one who is so intrigued by your subject that they intentionally educate themselves on it in order to better understand and enjoy your work.

This phenomenon isn’t restricted to any genre: a story may spark interest in history as easily as science or technology. For example, the slipstream works of Jo Walton encourage research into real history in order to better understand her modifications to the existing chronology and historical figures. As another example, Peter Watts’ interweaving of geothermal energy production, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering in Starfish may find a handful of readers knowledgeable about all three topics, but more likely will reach people interested or educated in one (or none!) but eager to learn more about the others.

As the movie quote goes, “If you build it, they will come.” The trick, of course, is to build something worth coming to, in a way that will spark the interest that creates an intentioned reader. A good story, not matter how obscure the topic, will never fail to find an audience.


Valerie Valdes

------end Guest Post ------------

Don't just think about what Valerie has said here.  Think hard about what it means THAT she just blurted this out in response to my invitation (in less than half an hour!).

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

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