Sunday, May 08, 2011

My Audience is Who? And Now They Want What?!

  It has amazed me how generous established authors are being to help out
 struggling authors (like me!).  Today, please welcome Alex Cavanaugh, author of
CassaStar, who has some helpful tips for the Science Fiction genre:

My Audience is Who? And Now They Want What?!

Yes, those very questions ran through my head last fall! Perhaps my experiences will help other writers. At the very least, I should give you hope!

I think most writers start with the genres they read. We write what we enjoy. So, when I began writing my first book, I figured my audience would consist of other science fiction geeks like myself. Wrong!

Science fiction fans did buy my book. But so did a lot of readers outside of that genre. I wasn’t prepared for that! What really surprised me was the amount of women who enjoyed CassaStar. After all, there are no women in my book.

I quickly realized that although my book is science fiction, it appeals to a far wider audience. Readers were drawn to the characters rather than the setting. I think writers need to consider all angles and plan for a wider audience.

Lesson learned - don’t underestimate a book’s readership!

Some writers envision detailed worlds and further adventures for their characters. They plan for more books. Not everyone has that vision, though. I didn’t!

I panicked when people began asking about a sequel, even before CassaStar’s release. I had a few ideas, but I never planned beyond one book. What the heck was I going to write?

One question continued to come up from fans - why weren’t there any women in the book? I decided to give the fans what they wanted and introduced a female lead into the story. Drawing upon an earlier idea, I created a whole new storyline, one that I hoped would satisfy my readers. That definitely taught me to continue fueling new ideas.

Lesson learned - don’t stop brainstorming and writing. And listen to fans! They may be on to something…

Somehow, I’ve fumbled my way through this whole process. Now, doesn’t that give you hope?


Alex J. Cavanaugh


Alex J. Cavanaugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and works in web design and graphics. He is experienced in technical editing and worked with an adult literacy program for several years. A fan of all things science fiction, his interests range from books and movies to music and games, and he covers those topics on his blog. His first book, CassaStar, was released last fall and is available in trade paperback and all eBook formats.