Monday, May 18, 2015

Who Is Your Audience?

Congratulations to Joyce Hostetter who won the audio book, "Red Berries, White Clouds, & Blue Sky" from last week's blog.
As some of you know, my husband and I recently went on a cross-country adventure. Seeing the northwest has been his bucket-list dream for years. Now that he is "semi-retired" we had the time to do it.

I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of driving from Florida to Seattle and back again, but it was amazing to see new parts of the country. Stationed in the backseat of our van along with my computer, Iphone, maps, books, and snacks, I enjoyed the ride and staying in touch with my world.

 I also enjoyed sharing pictures via Facebook and texting. What can compare to seeing snow-covered mountains and texting them to my friends in the South and East?
Mt. Ranier, Washington
as seen through the car window
It felt somewhat egotistical to share these pictures and I wanted to avoid a “look at me!” mentality, but I truly was blessed to have this opportunity.  I was amazed at how many people looked at my pictures and commented on them or shared them with others.

A Facebook friend shared this image with her relative who teaches Renaissance Literature:

Wichita, Ks.

Other friends laughed with me about the hullabaloo and long lines we witnessed in Bellevue, Washington when Seattle's first Chick-fil-A opened:
All of this made me consider the concept of audience.

When we share pictures, give a speech or performance; write an article or a book, we’re hoping for a positive reaction from our “audience.”  Sometimes our audience surprises us.

With wind-blown hair, this picture of me taken in the Badlands National Park, South Dakota got more "likes" on Facebook than any other picture I posted. 

My fellow blogger, Barbara Younger, blogs about menopause and all things related to women’s health in latter years. She has an occasional series showing women’s restroom doors.  After spotting this door in The Canon Pub in Columbus, Georgia,  

The hunt was on to send Barbra unusual ladies room doors. Here are two more I found. (BTW, I sent Barbara so many doors she's going to feature them on three separate blogs. Stay tuned!)
At Worden's Deli in Missoula, Mt

Colton's Steak House; Springfield, Mo

I knew my Korean friend Esther, who was recently confined to a wheel chair, would appreciate this sculpture

on a bike trail in Springfield, Missouri, as well as a Korean barbecue restaurant in an international food court outside Seattle.

 I hoped my granddaughter would appreciate seeing the animals in Yellowstone,

And I knew my friend Linda Phillips would appreciate this image from her home state of Oregon:
Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Having an audience added unanticipated fun to my trip. But at some point I started wondering: do I take pictures--or write a book--to please an audience? And as flattering as "likes" are on Facebook or "favorites" on Twitter can be--am I writing to say something or to please an audience?

I’ve heard that it’s a good idea to write your book picturing your target reader. Do you agree?  If you are writing a book, are you writing with a specific audience in mind? If you've already published books, is your audience who you expected it would be? 

Take a look at Augusta Scattergood's blog post on a similar topic.
What do you think? Has anticipating your audience shaped your work? If so, has that been a good or bad experience for you?

Meanwhile, thank you, blog readers and Facebook friends, for being a kind, supportive audience. This picture is for you:
Coeur D'Alene, Idaho


Augusta Scattergood said...

How did I miss the bathroom doors?! Great post and I'm also still thinking about the "audience" question you posed. I don't think I outwardly think about my readers while writing. But I do catch myself- A LOT- deleting words that sound way too adult for a middle-grade novel. Thanks for sharing and for the shout-out.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Augusta. Listening to the language we use is so important!

Linda Phillips said...

Enjoyed the travelogue, and thanks for the inclusion of an Oregon landmark, Multnomah Falls!

Carol Baldwin said...

My pleasure, LInda. thanks for being my Oregon (and other) expert!

Linda A. said...

Your trip was full of great scenery and special request photos. So glad you captured them for us to enjoy. I hope you're enjoying being home for a while now.

Audience is whoever comes. We can intend for a set group, but don't be surprised by who actually shows up!

Carol Baldwin said...

Love, love, love that definition of audience, Linda!!

Rosi said...

I enjoyed sharing your trip with you on Facebook. I wish we could take a cross-country trip, but I don't think we have it in us anymore to be away from our grandchildren that long. Glad you had a great time.

Joyce Moyer Hostetter said...

Enjoyed this Carol. I have a restroom door pic for Barbara that is similar to one you just posted. I better hurry and send it. ;)

Also really love the image of you with windblown hair.

Clara Gillow Clark said...

Thanks for sharing photos of your road trip, Carol. I missed most of them on FB, probably because we were on a road trip at the same time to AZ and back. You've given me something to think about and the value of taking snapshots with an audience in mind. And perhaps I need to think more about audience when I'm writing.

Carol Baldwin said...

Rosi- your grandkids have devoted grandparents! We missed ours too, but I think they liked getting postcards! Yes, Joyce-- better send your picture to Barbara. She sure loves them! Good to hear from you Clara. You must have logged a lot of miles from the North to the west also. Taking pictures and sharing them kept me from being overly bored in the back seat! (And fed my photo-journalist fantasy!)

Vijaya said...

Carol, beautiful photos. I love the Badlands photo of you. Thank you for sharing and giving us some food for thought about audience. I definitely have an audience in mind when I write. Usually it's a younger version of myself or a young friend I know or my kids. I also write a great deal for myself. Occasionally, I've decided to share it with others (either as a blog post or a story for kids).

I love road trips and we certainly enjoyed our cross-country trip from WA to SC four years ago even though we were a bit cramped. How I longed for a camper! Someday.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Vijaya. I'm sure you have considered this concept for your books! I had the luxury of having the entire back seat to myself. It would have been a different trip if I had to share it with anyone else!!

Young Authors Program said...

I loved the pics, Carol! Driving cross-country is one of the things I long to do. As for the audience question, I didn't write my first book for a particular audience. Not sure if I've done that for any of my books. I tend to write for myself and the topics that come naturally.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks, Dorothy! When you get to ready to make the trip, let me know. I'll have a few suggestions for you!

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