Updated: Dec 5, 2021
So we have determined your WHY, and WHAT you want to write about, now let me ask you a really important question: WHO are you writing for?
A child, right? Well, sort of.
Children’s books are written for children, yes, BUT those children are NOT the ones buying your book. Their parents, grandparents, caregiver, teacher, librarian, etc. are the ones purchasing it. So for children’s books, you are going to have TWO WHOS.
This is an important question to answer BEFORE you can actually start writing. Well, not that you HAVE to, but trust me, it’s going to be much easier for you if you do!
Figuring out your target audience is going to involve some research. Like, more than you think.
So let’s hop on over to Amazon again!
Look up books that are similar to yours. Type keywords you would search if you were looking for a book like yours. In the status, check to see the recommended age range for those books. Using this knowledge, determine what age range the child reading your book, or having your book read to them, is.
Keep in mind, by the age of 8 or 9, most kids have moved on to chapter books, middle grade, or graphic novels. (Trust me on this one, I work with this age range!). I’m not saying that once you turn 8 you don’t ever read a picture book again, that is very far from the truth, but most adults won’t buy their 9 year old a picture book.
So giving too broad of an age range usually does not work in your favor. Also, most kids read up. Meaning, if they are 5 years old, they are reading about a 6 or 7 year old. Think about it, when you were a kid, you always wanted to be older and do things the older kids did. It makes sense.
For example, the book I’m working on is for ages 5-8 or K-3. The reason it’s for older readers is the content is geared towards an important social studies topic most students learn in 2nd and 3rd grades. I am actually taking a risk here, since it might be deemed “too babyish” for 3rd graders, but that’s why my other WHO is teachers!
Now, for the adult WHO(S). What type of adult is going to buy this book for their child? Someone who is trying to solve a problem? For instance if your book is about death and you recently had a death in the family, an adult might be looking for that to help explain death to their child. Or is it a fun story specifically for a dad and daughter? It could be a great fathers day, birthday, or Christmas gift.
For example, my second WHOS are teachers, since I know they need to teach this subject to their students. I even have a third WHO, which are grandfathers/grandparents, specifically those who are close with their grandchildren. This allows for the possibility that the book might be bought and read for younger kids who aren’t the target age range.
The takeaway should be; It’s important to know BEFORE you start really getting into the nitty gritty, WHO you are trying to sell this book to. This will help you understand how to focus your writing, and also to find your potential buyer so you can advertise before it’s even published.
Take some time to really think about your WHO before you move on to the next step, planning!