How can any of us write for any person? How can any writer put themselves into a reader’s head and provide just what that reader wants? There’s only one reader that counts – and that’s you, the writer.
Why? Can you tell me why you like ice cream? Why you prefer one flower to another? What switches inside you flick on interest or revulsion to certain words, music, thoughts, notions or people? Some of these questions you might know the answer to, some you might not. It’s hard to know ourselves, and impossible to fully know others.
I have some readers now (a lovely thing). I know some of them through this blog, some of them elsewhere. Quite a number I don’t know at all because they quietly enjoy my work, but have no intention of contacting me ever (and why should they? They have what they want).
The point is, they are different from each other. Each may or may not like the same things in my stories as the others and, while I might say I know them, I don’t really know them. Should I focus on trying to please individual readers or even a group of readers, I’m going to trip over myself. I’ll be trying to make assessments all the time that are most likely inaccurate and most definitely outside the story, outside the book itself. You simply can’t write a book while you are outside of it.
So, the trick is to write for yourself. You were a reader first, after all. If you are anything like me, you were driven to write because you couldn’t quite find what you were looking for to read. You came to realize the only way you were going to find that was to write that. That makes you and your style unique. It also means that people like yourself, looking for those self-same things, will be thrilled to find you.
Yes, we each need to identify just which genre we are in and want to promote, we each in the broad sense want to reach those readers interested in what we have to offer, but don’t worry about your readers when you write your story. They will find you.
Avid readers are people hungry for a good story all the time. It’s food to them. They go hunting. They will find you.
Then all you have to do is continue to be yourself and write the way that is natural for you. It’s a win for you because you’re not sweating over pleasing your readers (you’ve already done that, just being yourself), and it’s a win for your readers because they already know they like your style and will come back for more.
In other words, give up worrying and go back to writing what YOU want to write. It will be the right choice for you and your readers.