When you write anything – an email, a web page, a newsletter, a book – you need to write it to a specific reader. If what you’re writing isn’t targeted, specific, and most importantly, relevant, your reader will move on. 

As marketing expert Seth Godin said in “It’s not for everyone”:

“It’s not for everyone”

“…but it might be for you.”

That’s a home run.

The stuff that’s for everyone, that’s easy to click, sniff, share, produce and learn–that stuff ends up having no character. It’s not memorable. Tater tots are for everyone.

But would you miss them if they were gone?

The goal isn’t to serve everyone. The goal is to serve the right people.

A book takes a long time to write, and while your topic may apply generally to many different types of readers, you need to focus on a specific reader and address their needs, wants, and desires. 

Many authors say they have a picture in their head of their ideal reader. Author Elizabeth Gilbert says she writes her books to a specific person she knows. This way, the book has an intimate and conversational tone. 

I wrote my book for corporate employees and entrepreneurs, and I primarily used U.S data. This is my personal and professional experience, so it made sense to stay with what I knew. I can’t speak to someone’s professional experience in Europe or Asia, for example. I don’t know what it is like to be a truck driver or union electrician. 

I never imagined that people who were not my intended audience would be annoyed and write reviews expressing that the book wasn’t written for them. If I had the opportunity, I would respond, “It’s not for you – and that’s okay.” 

Actually, it is more than okay – it was a deliberate choice.

So yes, while many of the strategies for working with stress, anxiety, and depression will be helpful to anyone, the stories and case studies I used are for U.S. corporate employees and entrepreneurs. 

Some editors might have pushed back on my targeting two groups of readers instead of focusing on one audience, but since my client work spans corporate employees and entrepreneurs, as does my personal professional experience, I was able to make it work. 

In fact, a lot of my clients switch between working for themselves and being employees throughout their career. It’s one of the reasons they are attracted to me and my work. 

So, I am irritated that I got a 3 star review because someone who works in a retail shop didn’t feel the case studies applied to them, and another person was annoyed that the book was U.S. centered, but these were well-considered choices. 

It’s not for you – and that’s okay. 

Photo by Kevin Hendersen on Unsplash