Allow me to share a little story with you.

 

When I was planning my first book, all I knew was that I wanted to offer teenage survivors a message of hope. That was my goal. At the time, I was working with teenage survivors and I learnt quickly that telling my story wasn’t going to make much difference. They didn’t really care that I was living a happy life, that all was well in my world. No matter how many times I told them that they could absolutely get through this stage of their life, that they weren’t to blame and that things would get better, nothing changed for them. So there would be little point in writing a book that said all of these things – the chances of them reading it would be slim to none!

My reader is a teenage girl. She has had a tough time and she needs to be heard. She can absolutely be inspired and needs to know that life can be awesome. She also needs to know that there will be ups and downs along the way. She needs a friend, not an annoyingly enthusiastic adult who’s no longer on her wavelength.

In order to reach my reader, I created a teenage character, Dani Moore. Dani is a teenage survivor and the books are written through her diary. Dani can say the things I can’t say. She’s honest about how tough her life is, about the bad days and about the impact of her experience. She also shares the ways in which she tries to make life better for herself. I brought in other characters, all of whom had a part to play in sharing the message of hope. At every stage, I thought about how my reader would be able to learn from Dani while simply enjoying her story. After all, it is fiction!

Did I share my story? Nope! Did I make my story count? Yep!

It might be that your reader needs to hear your voice and your story. It might be that turning your story into fiction is the best way for them to absorb it. If you’re writing a book that shares business expertise then it makes sense that it’s your voice, so that your reader can get to know you. All I’m asking is that you think about it.

Write a short bio for your reader. Create an avatar for them.

If your reader is a busy business owner with a family and a jam-packed diary, they won’t be excited by a book that teaches a process involving hours of additional work every day. If your reader is experiencing burnout, they won’t be able to read long, wordy chapters, regardless of how incredible the content is. If your reader is an empty nester starting to think about her life in a different way, she might want an inspiring fictional story that she can get lost in, while feeling like she’s with an old friend who truly understands her.

As long as you know who you’re writing for, you can write in a way that draws them into your words. That’s how you make a difference to them.