Discover your ideal reader by starting with you
Discover your ideal reader by starting with you

Discover your ideal reader by starting with you

Let’s face it your ideal reader is not sitting around filing their nails and hoping that magic answers will find them.

Or maybe they are?

In those moments when they are lost in thought – they become aware that they have some questions that need answering.

But what are the questions which gnaw at your ideal readers grey matter? And how do you know how they process the information that they receive – your divine inner wisdom.

For me, my ideal reader is someone not dissimilar to me.

I’ve just finished reading A Savage Art and although this is fiction, Kate our protagonist has issues which are similar to mine, because of this I am able to make an immediate emotional connection. The book that I am currently reading is called It started with a tweet. This book is completely different, but once again, I am able to make an immediate connection to the heroine, because of where she finds her love life.

The last non-fiction book I purchased was Infinite wisdom of the Akashic records, because I am constantly interested in the many ways that I can discover more about me and my spiritual journey. I tend to buy non-fiction as books to use for inner reflection and as a guide for my daily journaling. In other words, I buy based on questions I have at that time and I am guessing so do you?

I chose each from the heart, gut and then the head.

When you write for a reader you are writing to one person so that you become ONE and are communicating heart to heart, soul to soul. If you have ever wondered why some people engage and others don’t, then you will know that saying birds of a feather flock together is a truism.

People like people like us and your ideal reader is like you. That doesn’t mean that you can’t go through the whole buyer persona process, it means begin with you and then work out.

Let’s answer the question – who is your ideal reader?

There are many, many ways to discover who your ideal reader is.

We often start with a very practical outward approach, because that is what we are taught in marketing 101. When I recall the marketing lectures I received as part of my MBA and many marketing courses it felt as if it was a very head led approach. I can’t recall the anyone ever saying let’s map out who we are and what we stand for first.

When I worked in a corporate environment where we were manufacturing products, we had to for practical reasons look at our capabilities and assess the risk and perceived financial gain of going into new markets.

Then I had a client suitability matrix which scored each prospect on a set of five criteria. We looked at, for example, the markets they operated in because our products were designed to meet the needs of that market, then there were things like their ability to pay because the cost of setting up production lines and forward buying raw materials was expensive.

As part of my role, I created case studies – stories of how we had solved problems and created innovative solutions for our clients. The sales person was the initial point of contact and they and the business we were selling into had to make a personal and emotional connection. This was often taken for granted in that casual ‘oh we get on and both love golf sort of way.’ Later on, in the buying cycle, we would take prospective clients around our business so that they could get to know us. At this point, we were connecting many to many.

So what has this got to do with your ideal reader?

You need some way of creating a set of criteria to work from, and it has to start, as it does above with you. Instead of fretting about them ask these questions about you first.

Start here with this very practical approach used to discover who your ideal reader is. Go through each of these as you.


Who are they? E.g. age, sex, education level, income, marital status, occupation


What are their challenges, concerns and desires?
What are their views, what do they think about things?


Where are they on and offline?


What are their characteristics? What are their values, passions, attitudes, friends, hobbies, and what influences them?

Is your ideal reader led by passion, meaning or motion?

Once you have been through the above to get to who your ideal reader is, consider the passion, meaning and motion approach. Think about your buying process. Do you start with your heart (passion), then check in with your gut (meaning) and finally your head (motion)? Or do you go through strict head led criteria? Or does it depend on what you are buying?

You are looking for an emotional connection. Consider passion, meaning and motion – getting things done.

Now apply these questions to the last few books that you purchased. What does this tell you?


This reader comes from their heart and they want to read a book which will connect with their passion and enable them to make their world a better place.They will have a journal by the side of their bed and will delve deeply into themselves and their values. They will consider how they can serve the world. They do not measure success by the figures on a spreadsheet, but more about the impact they can make in the world.


This reader wants a book which invites them to dive deeply into their feelings. They want to be guided into how to explore what your message means to them. They are all about making meaning in the world. They are searching for meaning in all aspects of their life. When you write for this reader you are helping them to find meaning in their lives so that they can do the same for others.


This reader is practical, and they like systems and processes. You will find them setting goals, and using your book to create accountability. Your book will teach them something practical. They like motion – getting things done.

Are they one or all?

Your ideal reader - passion, meaning, motion

Your reader can be one or all of the above and I’m guessing that they are all three – what do you think?. When you structure your book consider who you want to speak to, where and in what way. When you design a chapter framework decide which part speaks to which aspect of your reader.

Draw you as your ideal reader

Last but not least, draw a picture of you as your ideal reader, add in all of the attributes you discover and keep it where you can see it. After a few days start to think about your ideal reader and explore what else you may want to add.

Here’s what to do next

  1. Come and join Writing for the soul
  2. Sign up for a complimentary, no selling online training session
  3. Need some help getting that book out of your head? Come and chat with me

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Dale Darley

Strategist, Coach, writer and author. Helping you to make sense of your ideas and personal stories so that you can create simple strategic direction and design the right products and services for your business. Mum to three dogs and a family of swallows. Life without cake is a life unlived.