Ryka Aoki

The idea of narrowing the scope of one’s readership can strike fear into the hearts of writers who fantasize about broad readerships, and their writing being for everyone. But there are amazing rewards that come with understanding your niche, and writing to a specific audience. Brooke and Grant speak with their guest Ryka Aoki about niche writing, micro and small presses, and discovering and carving out a path to a defined readership that’s both supportive and career-propelling.


Ryka Aoki is the author of Seasonal Velocities, He Mele a Hilo (A Hilo Song), and Why Dust Shall Never Settle Upon This Soul. Ryka was honored by the California State Senate for “extraordinary commitment to the visibility and well-being of Transgender people.” She worked with the American Association of Hiroshima Nagasaki A-Bomb Survivors, and two of her compositions were adopted as the organization’s official “songs of peace.” She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University and is professor of English at Santa Monica College.

Writing Action: Who's Your Audience?

If you’ve never sat down and considered who is the readership for your book, now is the time to do so. Some writers like to envision a single person, the characteristics, the profile of the kind of reader they imagine will be drawn to their work. Other writers imagine where their book might end up being covered—what kinds of magazines, blogs, and other outlets—and then consider the group of human beings that might be compelled to read that kind of coverage, or buy that kind of magazine. This is a marketing exercise, but extremely important for writers and authors as well—because the notion that your book is for everyone is simply not going to fly in publishing circles. You don’t even want your book to be for everyone; you want to own your niche. Embrace the reality that you are writing to a particular audience.

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