Writing ~ The Audience

Painting by Waterhouse

Alfred North Whitehead wrote: “A writer really writes for an audience of about ten persons. Of course, if others like it, that is clear gain. But if those ten are satisfied, he is content.”

I have my group of ten people who like what I write. That’s good. However, I wrote How to Crochet During the Apocalypse for myself. My group of ten liked it, but there was someone outside my group who LOVED it. It is my brother-in-law, Harry. Go figure!

Harry is a retired minister. He pastored one of the largest churches in _____, and is very well known in the community. He is educated, intelligent, and a critical thinker. He has critiqued other things I have written, but not HTCDTA.

(Note to self: You fell in love with the title before you considered how unwieldy it would be to tote around – don’t do that anymore!)

Harry tells people that every evening after he does his daily Scripture reading, he reads a chapter from my book. How about that! My little story is right up there with the Bible. I am honored.

In deciding whom your target audience is, you should ask yourself whether you are a quantity or a quality person. Do you want to be read by a lot of people with little or no discriminating palette, or would you rather be read by ten people who know an adjective from an adverb? I say this because you can’t have both nowadays. If you doubt me, just look at the Kardashians – it was not good taste that made them popular.

As for me, I would rather have an intelligent “C” than a witless “A” on my stories. According to my writing rubric, I usually give myself three out of five stars. But that is just me writing for myself.

In conclusion, I recommend that you write for yourself. If you do, you will always have something you like to read. Moreover, if you are honest with yourself, you will get your audience of ten. If you must lie, follow the advice of Kurt Vonnegut, and keep the arithmetic straight.

Note: I started to read The Concept of Nature by Alfred North Whitehead, but I was not in his audience of ten at the time. Some day I will give it another go.

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