If you’ve watched the news lately, you might be able to guess the reason for a post about audience. Adam Mansbach’s Go the F**k to Sleep might have been written for parents like me. Mansbach’s lyrical lines with soothing cadence sound like a child’s bedtime story, that is, until the f-bomb planted in the last sentence of each page.
“At a glance Go the F**k to Sleep with its bright paintings of babies, kittens, moonlight, and mountains would slip into any nursery bookcase, but maybe this would not be a wise idea. It’s more a guilty pleasure – to be savoured away from young eyes.” http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-go-the-fk-to1/
Adam Mansbach proves that picture books don’t all have the same audience. Generally, though, the format of the book does indicate the audience it was written for. Here are some general guidelines:
Picture Books: ages 1-6, 25 to 1,000 words, pictures tell at least half of the story
Two Lap Story: ages 7-10, 1,000 to 10,000 words, pictures are not as important, it is intended for an adult and child to read together, dialogue is important
Easy Reader: ages 6-9, 500 to 2,000 words, for kids to read independently, few pictures, lively plot featuring mystery, humor, or adventure
Middle Grade: ages 8-12, kids generally read in the genre they enjoy, books are more gender specific
Older Middle Grade and Young Adult: ages 10-15+, serious and more complex, real-life intrigue or drama
My writing usually falls into the picture book or middle grade categories. Those are the audiences I feel most comfortable addressing. Though, with my recent potty mouth, maybe I should try writing for young adults or adults?