June 27, 2013
Posted by: Gina Gagliano
Categories: Books

Reading

(This photo of reading was taken by Anna T.  The answer to the question, ‘who is your reader?’ as it applies to this book is: everyone!)

The problem of identifying an audience of readers is one that the comics industry tends to have some problems with.

Why?

Because ‘the comics reader’ tends to point to one bucket of people.  Or possibly there are two buckets of people — ‘the superhero comics reader’ and ‘the independent comics reader.’

This is because people who are devoted comics fans — or devoted graphic novel fans — tend to be fans of the medium.  They are like, ‘I enjoy books with pictures in them!  This appears to be a book with pictures that’s about American history!  And this one’s a kids’ fantasy novel!  And this one’s about physics!  They’re all so awesome.’

It turns out that most readers of books (as opposed to comics/graphic novels) are less catholic in their tastes and have specific genres they’re attracted to — like women’s fiction!  Or science fiction!  Or mystery!  Or historical nonfiction!  Obviously there are readers who are less reading-ly exclusive who don’t stick to just one genre.  But if you ask a regular adult what sorts of things they like to read, they’ll probably pinpoint some specific genres.

Where this comes in handy with comics and graphic novels is that besides the bucket of comics readers, comics do appeal to regular book readers as well!  So as well as appealing to the comics reader people-bucket, a book may also appeal to the science fiction/fantasy audience, or to the people who read books about cooking.

It can also be a good indicator of exactly how many people in that ‘comics reader’ bucket will like your book — if you find yourself writing a graphic novel about the dietary restrictions of the star-nosed mole and you come to find that there’s not a huge audience for that sort of thing in the prose market, you may start to worry (probably rightly) that some of your core audience of comics readers may not be as interested as you’d like in the diets of moles.

So: who is your reader?

Your Comments are Welcome!


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