Writing brain


Many writers dream of seeing their books on bestseller lists, only to face disappointment when their work doesn’t sell as expected. The reason behind this frustration is often simple: they haven’t considered their audience’s needs and desires.

Writing a book is a significant achievement, but understanding your readers before you start writing is essential if your goal is to sell more books.

This principle applies to both fiction and nonfiction. Unless you’re writing as a hobby for family and friends, you must prioritize your readers. Here’s how you can think like your readers and increase your book sales.

Know Your Audience

The first step in writing a book that sells is understanding your audience. Who are they? What are their interests, needs, and pain points? Whether you’re writing a fantasy novel or a self-help guide, you need to know who will be reading your book.

Fiction Writers

For fiction writers, this means understanding the preferences and expectations of your genre’s readers. Do they prefer fast-paced action or deep character development? Are they looking for escapism or stories that reflect real-life issues? By knowing what your readers are looking for, you can craft a story that resonates with them.

Nonfiction Writers

Nonfiction writers must identify their readers’ problems and provide solutions. If you’re writing a book on personal finance, you need to understand the financial challenges your readers face. Are they struggling with debt, looking to invest, or trying to save for retirement? Your book should offer clear, actionable advice that addresses these specific issues.

Write with Your Voice, But Verify it is an Effective Voice

Your unique voice as a writer is what sets you apart from others. It’s your style, your personality, and your way of communicating. However, while it’s important to maintain your voice, you also need to ensure that it appeals to your audience.

Finding the Balance

Striking a balance between your voice and reader expectations can be challenging. You don’t want to compromise your authenticity, but you also don’t want to alienate potential readers. The key is to be yourself while being mindful of your audience’s preferences.

Adapting Your Style

Sometimes, this means adapting your style slightly. For instance, if you have a witty, humorous voice but you’re writing about a serious topic, find ways to inject humor without undermining the subject matter. Conversely, if you’re naturally formal but your readers prefer a casual tone, try to relax your writing style a bit.

Offer Clarity

Above all, your writing must be clear. Whether you’re sharing a fiction scene or a nonfiction series of steps, your readers must be able to capture a clear image of what you’re trying to communicate. Clarity involves more than just avoiding jargon and complex sentences; it’s about ensuring your message is easily understood.

Fiction Clarity

In fiction, clarity means painting vivid pictures with your words. Describe your settings, characters, and actions in a way that allows readers to visualize them. Avoid unnecessary complexities in your plot that might confuse readers. Each scene should advance the story and reveal something new about the characters or the plot.

Nonfiction Clarity

For nonfiction, clarity means organizing your content logically and providing step-by-step guidance. Use headings, bullet points, and summaries to break down complex information. Ensure that each chapter or section builds on the previous one, leading your readers through your material in an easily digestible manner.

 Anticipate and Meet Reader Needs

To write a successful book, you need to anticipate your readers’ needs and meet them effectively. This requires empathy, research, and strategic planning.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When you write with empathy, you put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Consider their emotional responses, frustrations, and desires. What are they hoping to gain from your book? How can you make them feel understood and valued?


Research is crucial for understanding your audience and anticipating their needs. This can involve reading reviews of similar books, participating in forums or social media groups, and even conducting surveys. The more you know about your readers, the better you can tailor your content to their interests and needs.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning involves outlining your book in a way that aligns with your readers’ journey. In fiction, this means structuring your plot to maintain suspense and keep readers engaged. In nonfiction, it means organizing your content to provide a clear and logical progression of ideas.

Feedback and Iteration

Finally, don’t be afraid to seek feedback and iterate on your work. Share early drafts with beta readers from your target audience. Listen to their feedback and make necessary adjustments. This iterative process can help you refine your book and ensure it resonates with your readers.

Practical Tips for Thinking Like Your Readers

  1. Create Reader Personas. Develop detailed profiles of your ideal readers. Include demographics, interests, challenges, and goals. Use these personas to guide your writing decisions.
  2. Engage with Your Audience. Interact with your readers on social media, through email newsletters, or in person. Ask them what they want to read and what they think of your work.
  3. Analyze Successful Books. Study bestselling books in your genre. What do they have in common? How do they engage their readers? Use these insights to inform your writing.
  4. Write Reader-Centric Blurbs and Summaries. When crafting your book’s blurb or summary, focus on what your readers will gain from reading your book. Highlight the benefits and key takeaways.
  5. Test and Iterate. Before publishing, test your content with a sample of your target audience. Use their feedback to improve clarity, engagement, and overall appeal.

The Key to Your Success

Writing a book that sells requires more than just putting words on a page. It involves understanding your audience, writing in a voice that resonates with them, and offering clarity in your message. By anticipating and meeting your readers’ needs, you can create a book that not only sells but also leaves a lasting impact.

Remember, your readers are the key to your success. Think like them, write for them, and watch your book sales soar.