I am making this question with the assumption in mind that specific genres attract certain types of people.

How can I determine the target audience based off of genre alone? I'm looking for the reasoning behind determining target audiences, though a list of who reads what would obviously work as well.

For example, I've heard that (speaking in generality) lawyers read legal thrillers, women read romances, and so on. Those make sense. But I've also heard that graphic designers read fantasy. Why? That is my question.

2 Answers 2


The published research is usually the other way around, that is "who reads what?", not "what is read by whom?". The best researched group of readers is children and adolescents. Results are usually broken down by age and sex, sometimes by socio-economic status. The next best reseached group are women. You can find studies for both groups by using Google Scholar. If you are lucky, some journalist has condensed the findings for you in an article that you can find through Google.

There are some genres that have been researched for their readership (e.g. pulp novels about doctors [I'm not making this up]) or certain occupational groups (e.g. nurses [I'm not making that up either]) but by and large there is no research that is as specific as what you expect, listing genres by the occupations of their readers.

There are companies like Nielsen who collect detailed readership analyses, and you can access their data if you are willing to pay a couple of hundred dollars. There are also publisher's interest groups that conduct that kind of research and make it accessible to their member companies. Sometimes some of these findings get reported in the media, so you might find something through Google.

Your options as a writer are to go to forums relevant to your genre and find who is interested in it. You could open a thread and ask for background info. Or you can create an app on Facebook and target it to people "liking" a specific genre and then collect info on the users that interact with your app. I did that once for teens who read fantasy. I wanted to find out what else they "like". Or, if the complementary perspective interests you, you can approach people of a certain occupation, eithet online or in person, and ask them what they read. And so on, you get the idea.

I personally don't believe that graphic designers read fantasy. I know a few and they all do not read books at all. If you find information on the net, make sure you understand how that information was uncovered and who publishes it for what reason. Stuff on the web is often made up or anecdotal. You'd do well to distrust it.

  • Thanks what. About the graphic designers, I actually read that in a book on writing. I don't think it was graphic designers though - something close, I can't remember the exact name. I just included it to illustrate my point. Commented Jun 20, 2015 at 17:31

I believe it will be more better if you first identify personality characteristics or user nature leading him/her to like a certain genre. Identifying this will help you as you can then find the best suited class of people or profession of people who will have those traits.

This can not only result in finding all the sets of people having the genre as their liking but also help you link that certain user traits can be affiliated to a certain list of genres.

Finding these particular traits will give you a better picture as to why certain people like certain genres.

Practically though getting this data of personality traits will be more hard than simply getting professions.

Also no conclusion can be a complete one as at the end a persons choices can vary from time to time depending on the current stage her/his life is in.

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