We’re all familiar with the idea of writing for the Audience of One, but when you start to think about publishing your work, you do have to think of others. To use the marketing term, it’s your target market. Your readers.
Marketing experts will tell you the best way to reach a market is to be part of it. This is especially true for writers. Even if you can’t literally be part of your target market — for example, if you’re a grown-up writing for teens — you can still be part of their circle by hanging out with them and understanding their needs.
In my case, I very firmly write for people like me.
A critique partner once commented on a scene in my contemporary novel, Hope and Pride, in which the hero, an artist, has drawn a picture titled Stopping by Woods. After we read the passage, she looked at me and asked, “Will the average reader understand a reference to Robert Frost?”
I answered, “I think I can safely say that my target market is ‘people who will understand a reference to Robert Frost.’”
Don’t write for marketers. Write for readers. You know who they are.