Thursday, March 3, 2016

Targeting Multiple Audiences

In the press releases that we just wrote we were instructed to write with two audiences in mind.  The first audience was journalists and the second was the true target audience of the press release.  This approach does not only exist for press releases.  I use a similar approach when I write fiction.

For fiction to be traditionally published, it first needs to get through a "gatekeeper."  This "gatekeeper" can be one or more slush readers, assistant editors, an editor-in-chief, etc.  In rare cases, the "gatekeeper" can be the public (or virtual public), as is the case in a flash fiction contest for Escape Pod that I am participating in now.  When I write, I assume that the "gatekeeper" will be an editor, unless I'm writing specifically to target a market that I know uses slush readers first or whatever.

If I'm targeting a specific editor I will look at the attributes of the stories that editor publishes and try to keep my story compatible with those stories.  For example, if I know an editor prefers 3rd-narrative POV, I will write the story using that POV.  Usually I do not target specific editors.

Targeting editors in general is a small matter, but it does need to be considered.  Editors in general in the genres I write prefer 3rd-limited or 1st-person POV.  Consequently, most of the stories I write are in those POVs.  Editors in general like traditional plot structures.  I write mainly traditional plot structures for many reasons; this is one of them.  These are just two examples of ways in which I consider editors when I write.

Primarily, I write stories in ways that I believe readers will like.  In order to get to those readers through traditional channels, I must first get through "gatekeepers."  Just as one must target multiple audiences for a press release, one must do the same for stories seeking traditional publication.


  1. For people writing short fiction, its important to keep an individual editor's taste in mind.That way there are less chances of rejection.
    Patrick, do you write only Flash Fiction or are you working on a novel?

    1. Sorry, I just saw this now. I have the very beginning to two novels, one of which I hope to write some day. At the moment the longest form I'm writing is the novelette. I've written several short stories (about eight, mostly hovering between 1,000 and 2,000 words).