In addition to knowing your genre (writers are told) you must know your audience.
Don't expect to sell a romance to a reader who thrives on horror. Don't count on selling an historical novel to a five year-old. Most men avoid chic lit. So...when you sit down to write you need to ask yourself:
The easy answer is children, or young adults, or gardeners, or athletes...people who you believe will enjoy your story...and buy your book.
But there's more to it than that.
Perhaps the woman who picks up your book likes to read during her chemo session every week.
Maybe the kid who picks up your book is bullied at school, or perhaps he's gay. So he's thinking about suicide.
Perhaps the man who pulls your book off the shelf reads in bed at night because he can't sleep. His wife just died.
This is your audience.
Can you write something that helps? Something that lends hope to the patient who has all but given up hope? Something that gives him strength when your reader feels defeated? Something that comforts the grieving, or lonely, or abandoned?
Do you understand the power you have?
Do you know who your audience is?
We're just 10 days away from the official launch of NaNoWriMo. Let the insanity begin!