Keeping Your Readers Engaged

Catherine Gregory and Nathan Joblin

Do you want to know how to write a transformational book that engages your readers?

I’ll let you in on a little secret:

Write to just one 'reader,' singular. Not 'readers,' plural. 

Even though your book may appeal to many readers, if you write it to everyone, you’ll connect with no one.

Let me clarify.

When you narrow your writing to address just one Ideal Reader, all of your readers will feel the intimacy of your writing and begin to find you relatable and trustworthy as a guide. 

When your Ideal Reader is the North Star of your writing journey, you are extending your hand (aka energy) to them like you would a dear friend or client, and it’s palpable. They feel seen by you.

Think of a book you’ve read where you felt like the author spoke directly to you. How did you feel? That kind of writing makes for the most memorable transformational books. 

Know Your Ideal Reader

Your Ideal Reader should be someone you would enjoy spending time with, someone with a particular challenge or problem you can help them solve with the knowledge you plan to share in your book.

In many cases, your book’s ideal reader may be a younger version of yourself. Many of our authors at Modern Wisdom Press say they wish they had the book they are writing when facing a certain challenge earlier in their lives. They are now called to write their book to offer a solution they finally figured out.

When I coach my clients on narrowing their focus to just one reader, I initially get a lot of pushback—and I get it!

We think that by narrowing our focus to one type of reader with one kind of problem we can help solve, we’ll limit our reach and the number of people we can serve. And that’s a myth I love to bust.

Think of it this way: When you write to a broad range of people, your writing will feel impersonal, and it won't be easy to keep readers engaged.

Yet, when you have a particular person in mind as you write, your writing becomes much more relatable, intimate, and magnetic.

Your writing then appeals to readers who may not be your ideal readers, yet they can see your personality and the possibility of how you and your book can help them, too.

Narrowing your niche and knowing precisely who you’re writing to becomes a happy paradox that energizes your writing and expands your impact. This is what makes you more magnetic to a broader audience.

So, take a moment now and identify your Ideal Reader by asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Who is my Ideal Reader (is it a future or current client, a friend or family member, or a younger version of yourself?) Get specific about their lifestyle, habits, likes/dislikes, fears, and other personality traits. This will help you connect with more empathy when you write with them in mind.

  2. What particular challenge are they facing that you can help them solve?

  3. What language are they using to discuss this challenge? What exact words do they say when they imagine their life with this problem finally resolved?

  4. Write a letter to them explaining why you wrote this book for them. Use their words as you talk about their challenge. Write like you're sitting across the table from them, speaking to them. This kind of writing will keep your readers turning pages as they read your book.

Keeping your Ideal Reader as the North Star of your book-writing journey will also pay off in another way.

When you get sidetracked by self-doubt or procrastination (as most authors do!), think of your Ideal Reader. Imagine how your book will inspire and support them. They are waiting for you to write this book! Your Ideal Reader becomes a perfect accountability partner to help you across the finish line.

Happy Writing!


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