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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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I Can’t Give It Away on Seventh Avenue

Some writers want to work without thinking or caring about market concerns. I get that. Some are hyper-aware of marketing concerns and want to reach a specific audience. I get that, too. There are some projects that have some kind of magnetic force field that draws the market out. You can often see it first inside the publishing house where interest pools around a book in the form of buzz, of galleys disappearing, of people wanting to work on it, a kind of momentum starts to build driven by in-house reads, rep enthusiasm, etc. Most books, however, need a push. And to that end,  while you are writing, or when you’re shopping your project, and again when it is published, the clearer your idea is of your market, the more likely you might actually reach it.

Who IS the market for your book? For Forest for the Trees: aspiring and jaded writers, students of writing, teachers of writing, and happy, hopeful people. The market for Food and Loathing: People with bi-polar, eating disorders, Jewish self-hatred, mother issues, people in love with their shrinks, people who hate their shrinks, self-hating shrinks, Twelve step drop-outs, and fast-food connoisseurs.

Who is the market for your book?

54 Responses

  1. Females whose husbands aren’t quite what they hoped they would be.

    Males who wonder.

  2. Readers who enjoy characters with bent needles on their moral compasses.

  3. The market for my book is readers who want to see themselves in print.

  4. It depends on which book.

  5. The narcissist answers: the market for my book is me. Some experienced writers can say the same or similar and make it work for him. At a reading once I heard a novelist say, “I write to find out what it is I have to say.” Granted, that wasn’t necessarily what he’d say his audience is, but he did have an audience then, and still does more than two decades later. At another reading, I heard a playwright say something like this: when he has an idea he’s afraid of, he starts writing–not a word about who’d want to see it. He too was successful then and still is.

    But none of this is a model that should be followed early on. I agree with Betsy that we need to have some idea who we’re speaking to: we need to know (forced wordplay ahead) for whom the pen scrawls.

    My book is currently on hold while I decide that question, and whether it ought to be a book or begin life smaller, as a potential magazine article, and some other things. Can say what it’s currently about, but not yet who it’s for, and that’ll feed back into the rest.

  6. 1. expats
    2. noir aficionado

  7. The lonely. Those on their lunch break and those having a quiet weekend. The ones on the bus who would rather not be there and would much rather be in a world that I create which they can hold in their hands until their stop comes up. The romanticists. Those on the beach who are having a vacation and read books because that is what you are supposed to do. And those who are on vacation on the beach and know that any world I create will be better than the one they are living. And my favorite target, college professors, whom I want to see splutter while I’m sitting on the beach listening to them howl and grunt and complain, and then choke on their self-importance. And when all is written and read, and when I’m feeling a little better about myself, I might write a few children’s books. You name it. I’m there. In all honesty, you name it. The human race. How’s that for beginners. It’s really actually genius, my plan, no one wins and no one loses.

  8. Eleven-year old twin girls.

  9. For my commercial book, restless ladies with a penchant for Italy’s charms.

    For my short stories and novel, intercontinental fiction-heads who like cool culture trips and artful free-falling.

  10. Girls who put out too much.

  11. Those who have once despaired.

    Also those who want to close their eyes and feel mist on their cheek

  12. Prisoners.

  13. Wait a minute. People hate their shrinks? That might explain a few things.

  14. Atheists with identity issues, believers with doubts, agnostics with commitment problems. And those that enjoy the occult, and cults, that feel like failiures, that suspect much can prove little.

    Those who dream of giving it all up, those that have given up, and those that have chased wild geese. These are my people.

    Oh yeah, and what you Americans call soccer Moms too.

  15. Baby boomers and watchers of Nick at Night. (Is it still on the air?
    I may have a problem if it’s not.)

    I didn’t understand about shrinks until I became a Unitarian.
    Now I stay away from both groups.

  16. Editors with good budgets and bad taste.

  17. Readers who view memoirs as a visit to the Freaks of Nature at the carnival.
    Parents who fear their children are being taught by those freaks of nature.
    Teachers who can’t look away, no matter how gruesome the spectacle.

  18. My book would be of interest to fantasy readers, young adult, college, and general romance readers. Of course, I don’t know if there is a market for tongue-in-cheek humor.

    Webb

  19. armchair intellectuals

  20. Anyone from a dysfunctional family, anyone with financial issues. Also, sex, drugs and rock and roll in the background. Book comes with a CD of me playing ear splitting electric guitar. On second thought. maybe that’s not such a good idea.

  21. This might just be why I haven’t written a book. Mostly my market would be… me. And I can’t afford to buy more than a couple copies 🙂

  22. Stepmothers who were stepdaughters themselves. Moms stuck in the suburban dead zone who’ve become someone they no longer recognize. Adult siblings who no longer speak, but want to and can’t figure out how. Families who want to do better, be better, but live with men who bark like Rush Limbaugh and still use the n-word with alacrity. Rush Limbaugh lovers and loathers. Chronic movers who long to find what “home” is. Book nerds who crave education, didn’t get it as a kid, and go to college later in life. People who make a load of promises at their mother’s deathbed and fail at all of them.

  23. People who shop at Publix.

  24. Women over thirty who prefer the view from the bottom. Men who think of the bedroom as a battlefield. Anyone who hates the words manhood, gash, or golden mane. People with brains who also have bodies. Any woman who owns a vibrator, any guy who owns a set of handcuffs. Potheads. Thrill-seekers. Tattoo artists. Women with indecent piercings and the men who love them.

    That about covers it.

  25. Anyone who has ever felt alone in a room full of people. People who live in big cities, want to live in big cities or need a reminder of why they never moved to one.

  26. Women on the cusp between the first and second half of life looking forward and looking back and wondering how they got there, what happened on the roads not taken, and whether the question is even worthwhile.

  27. readers with a fondness for the profane. Assuming I ever stop writing the GD book, I’d like to market it as literary suspense, though I don’t know if that’d be honest. Starts out with a murdered husband (involuntary manslaughter) but it’s more a meditation on marriage and death than a whodunit…

  28. The book club members and readers from TX to FLA who have heard the pitch for my 2 books and want to read them versus the agencies who are not interested.

  29. I write for readers of crime fiction who don’t mind a twist of grime. For those who seek stories that are down and dirty. Where the good guys often get bloody, sometimes broody, and who do not always win. I write for those who enjoy a story engagingly told, where sentences sometimes sing. And most of all for those who want to know what happens next and for whom the ‘next’ I write never disappoints.

  30. Gay Communist Jews.

  31. You left out of your Lerner markets list people who happened upon your blog and then had to read anything of yours they could find.

  32. Blush.

  33. Smart literary types who also sometimes pick up a trashy magazine at the checkout stand. Those who read the book before they see the movie. People with mommy issues. Selfish people or people who wish they could be more selfish. Women who have a hard time juggling their multiple personalities. Women who love women. People who don’t need a happy ending. People who liked Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. Liars. Actresses, movie-goers, writers, readers, mothers, daughters, and artists.

  34. Young men and women who, in a previous generation, would have dug anything by Hermann Hesse. That doesn’t mean I write like him. Ah, I don’t know. Still figuring it out myself.

  35. […] week over at Betsy’s blog, she asked “What’s the market for the book you’re writing?”  I don’t […]

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