Writing for Your Audience
All Levels | Any decision you make on the page directs your work toward a particular audience, whether intentionally or not. Like dust covers, your authorial choices say to individual readers: “Welcome, this book is for you!” or “Go away, this book is not for you!” But how do you identify your ideal audience and write consciously toward it? In this short session, we’ll recover audience from the taboo, declare whom exactly we’re writing for, and discuss how we engage with readers’ expectations. This course includes exercises and a short reading.
MATTHEW SALESSES is the author of the bestsellers The Hundred-Year Flood, an Adoptive Families Best Book of 2015 and Amazon.com Best Book of September, and Craft in the Real World, a Best Book of 2021 at NPR, Esquire, Library Journal, Independent Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Electric Literature, and others. His latest novel is the PEN/Faulkner Finalist Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear, a Thrillist.com and Entropy Best Book of 2020. Previous books include I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying; Different Racisms: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinity; and The Last Repatriate. Two more books are forthcoming: a novel, The Sense of Wonder, and a memoir-in-essays, To Grieve Is to Carry Another Time.
Matthew was adopted from Korea. In 2015 Buzzfeed named him one of 32 Essential Asian American Writers. His essays can be found in Best American Essays 2020, NPR Code Switch, The New York Times Motherlode, The Guardian, and other venues. His short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, PEN/Guernica, and Witness, among others. He has received awards and fellowships from Bread Loaf, Glimmer Train, Mid-American Review, [PANK], HTMLGIANT, IMPAC, Inprint, and elsewhere.
Matthew is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing in the MFA/PhD program at Oklahoma State University. He earned a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Emerson College. He serves on the editorial boards of Green Mountains Review and Machete (an imprint of The Ohio State University Press), and has held editorial positions at Pleiades, The Good Men Project, Gulf Coast, and Redivider. He has read and lectured widely at conferences and universities and on TV and radio, including PBS, NPR, Al Jazeera America, various MFA programs, and the Tin House, Kundiman, and One Story writing conferences.