In case you couldn't tell yesterday, I liked the movie Avatar (No, this is still not a movie review. Sorry). I liked it more than some people did, and on a scale of 1-10, I know I gave it a higher review than some people did. I know this, because I had to give it a rating on 1-10 and ended up on the receiving end of a Captain Film Major mini-lecture on my taste in movies.
Here's the deal: I was always going to like that movie. That was sort of a foregone conclusion. I'm the sort of person who likes that sort of movie. Sure, there are aspects of the plot that have been done before (in other movies I liked, actually), and there might have been a few things I might have done differently, but I was going to like that movie. I was their target audience.
Other times, I've come out of movie theaters and said, "Nah, didn't care for it." And those were often predictable as well. Because I knew going in that I was not the sort of person who liked that sort of movie. (I'm not going to name names, because I don't want to diss things on the blog. Though, people who know me who are reading this might recognize what flicks I'm talking about.) It drives Captain Film Major crazy when I say this in movie discussion, but I do believe that there are some things that I'm not going to like, because I'm not the target audience. That doesn't mean I think these were bad works. It just means that I didn't like them, and that that was a predictable thing.
I believe that everything -- books, movies, music, everything -- has a target audience. If they're very good, they'll have a lot of appeal outside that target audience or just a very wide target audience, but there's still a group the maker is hoping to reach. Those within the target group are expected to like it and those outside it aren't really expected to. They still can, but there isn't the same expectation of enjoyment. The system isn't infallible, but there's a certain expectation.
Are there guys who read the Princess Diaries series by Meg Cabot. Yes, I know there are. I've met some. Were they the target audience? No. So, if you meet a guy who says he doesn't find them interesting, you're not surprised. After all, he wasn't the target audience. You didn't expect him to be into it.
There are all sorts of different target audiences. If it's a demographic, it can be a target audience. For books, we break things down all sorts of different ways: age, genre, style. Even length could lend itself to a certain target audience, because those are different sorts of readers. I'm writing YA and I figure that for the most part the readers would be girls. They're my target audience.
Do you believe in target audiences for books? What's your target audience?