By Nimue Brown.
Who are your readers going to be? What language to they expect you to speak? What will engage them, and what will alienate them?
These are key questions to ask when thinking about what, if any jargon to use when writing.
If you are working in a well established non-fiction area with a big readership – philosophy is an easy example here – it’s fair to assume there are plenty of potential readers for you who speak the language of philosophy and will prefer books that use it. It’s a big enough niche that you can cater to it and expect decent sales. In an established niche, readers may be put off by a book that has too low-brow a tone.
However, if the niche you’re writing in is small, and largely unknown outside people working in that field, you might want to use a more accessible language style so as to pitch to a wider audience.
Market research is not something to do at the end – if you don’t know who your readers are going to be, you can’t pitch a book at the right level for them. Get the tone wrong, and you won't find your audience, reviewers won't respond well to you, assuming you get that far - it certainly doesn't improve your chances of being picked up by a publisher.
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