When you sit down to write, when the coffee is cooling by the side of your laptop and the snow is falling outside, do you think about who is going to read your story? Do you have an image in your head of the perfect reader, the one you want to fall in love with your characters and take them to heart forever? Is it the woman on the train, losing herself in your fictional world because it makes her long commute just a little bearable? Is it the one on the beach, enjoying a coconut concoction while the sun warms your pages? Does she have a Darth Vader cookie jar, an old cookbook that belonged to her grandmother, and a fondness for drinking champagne in high heels?
Personally, I have no idea.
I never considered who my perfect reader would be. I don’t even think she exists. (Or he exists, I do plan to evolve as a writer.) If I did try to picture them, what would be the chance of them finding my book? Realistically. Maybe not as difficult if I were writing about a vampire struggling to make it through his first Comic Con without his fangs distracting from his Princess Leia gold bikini costume. There are probably some very select message boards where I could promote that story.
Take a look at your bookshelf. How many writer’s could call your their perfect reader right now? If you restrict yourself to the Russian-speaking French Canadian with a passion for vintage dolls and revolvers, you will miss out on all those other wonderful readers who will love and cherish your work. You never know what it is that might prompt someone to love your book. Maybe they loved the cover, maybe you just caught them in the right mood, maybe they were drawn to the name of your characters or their location. The one who hates the very idea of your book today might adore it in six months time.
There’s a whole world of readers out there.
My perfect reader simply enjoys my book. And maybe, just maybe, something in there stays with them and they buy copies for all their friends. Now that would really be perfect!