I commented to a recent blog: Foetal Positions in an attempt to explain why I blog to an audience, but it got lengthy, so I decided to expand on the manuscript portion of my answer here. For me, content and character are high on the list in choosing my audience, and you might consider examining this for yourself if you elect to have an audience at all.
I thought I was writing a fantasy novel for adults, but it may be a young adult novel instead, or perhaps a young adult dark fantasy book, due to its content and character development leaning in that direction.
Though the situations may be a bit dark, young people live in a much harsher reality than society gives them give them credit for understanding. By the time they are teens many are exploring darker imagery. However, beyond the darker side of life and pushing boundaries, my manuscript is growing into a coming of age story on its own, but I think that it can be enjoyed by adults, too.
Now, this was not really my initial plan, but rumor has it there is an audience for YA fiction, and lets face it, who amongst us wouldn’t want to have our scribblings published, perhaps be successful enough at the game that we can, if not quit our day job, ease up on those hours and devote more time to writing?
I have another manuscript started, a horror novel. This second enterprise is definitely adult in content, moreover involves murder, sex and violence, and it is already holding steady in the adult audience position of its own accord, the characters dealing with adult situations more graphic than in my fantasy novel, even as they grow through solving the mysteries and murders, and evolve in their character arc.
My audience with the first novel, when I’m published, will likely be adults at first; those who have guided me on my journey, and those friends who will buy one to show support, but I’ve a feeling my young adult audience will trickle their way through to find my bit of work, and with any luck, come back for more.
The second novel will pull in a mature audience, and have a following in perhaps both the horror and dark fantasy genres.
Here is one thing to keep in mind when writing to your audience, and your intentions and responsibilities toward them: This quote by agent Jon Sternfeld: “All genres are mysteries…”
What this means is that you, as a writer are attempting to engage your audience, your readers in a play of, “Hey, there’s a mystery to solve here,” or a dilemma to overcome, etc., and you promise, as an author to give them a bit of a peek, a chance to anticipate, participate, and unravel the clue, to care about the characters, and solve the problems presented, regardless of genre.