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MBM: Know Your Audience — Even the Subtle One, by Cindy Piper



Welcome to the second day of



You can read more about March Book Madness here, but basically it’s an excuse for me to discuss everything about writing, editing, and reading books with some amazing authors and readers.

Fun, fun, fun!


Here’s the schedule:

The collective talent listed above . . . Wow! It’s going to be a great month.


Today we have Cindy Piper on MARCH BOOK MADNESS.

Cindy is a mother of three, avid reader, and blogger at

I know Cindy very well because I married her older brother. 🙂 (If you need help, that makes her my sister-in-law.) I love her to pieces. She lived with us for a short time before she was married and became close to not just me, but my kids. She read to them all the time and has given them many books over the years. We love Cindy and her family!

So…here’s she is.


CINDY PIPER: A Good Author Knows Their Audience — Even The Subtle One

I love reading everything from Dr. Seuss to June B. Jones to murder mysteries.  

If you can’t tell, I have kids — three kids. I love children’s books.  I hoard them.  I love a good book.  To me, this means the author understands their audience. 

Obviously Dr. Seuss understood he had two audiences.  There’s hidden meaning in each of his books. Take, for instance, The Lorax.  When my son was three, he loved this book and had most of it memorized because of the rhyming words. But I also enjoyed it because Dr. Seuss talks about social issues, particularly the environment and consumerism.  I also enjoy the lyrical rhythm of his books.  He cleverly puts the message in an enjoyable rhyming way. 

(Happy belated birthday, Dr. Seuss! March is National Reading Month because we love your books.)

I also have a two-year old who loves reading all kinds of books.  One of his — and my — favorites is a book called 13 Planets. It’s about the solar system and has great pictures, so my son enjoys looking at it over and over.  But there’s also great information about the planets and space for me. I’ve learned a lot

My six-year old reads Junie B. Jones with me.  There’s subtle humor in there for an adult who may be reading or listening to a child.  Barbara Park is witty and makes the book enjoyable for adults and children. We also like Nate the Great.  It’s a series about a kid detective who solves mostly kid mysteries. He’s a clever kid, and I admit that I enjoy the stories also.  Lately we’ve started The Magic Tree House series.  I think I like these books more than my son. In general, I’m more amused by reading than he is.

The authors of the books I read over and over to my little ones understand that the book is not just for the child.  

I also live to read or listen to books on my iPod.  I read a variety of themes and authors.  I like murder mysteries with plot that I just can’t figure out. I love a good memoir. Right now I’m listening to a story that’s fiction, but is written with the intent to inspire you to have a better perspective on life.


I think even within the same reader, there are many audiences. Just like myself, I’m a mother,  a student of life, a teacher, a wife, etc. A great author understands his audiences.



I am a wife and mother of three children.  I love reading to them.  I started a blog in August after my daughter was born premature with Spina Bifida.  It is



Cindy reads to her kids more than any mom I’ve ever met. She’s amazing, and her kids are brilliant because of it. You should hear her almost-three-year-old read. It blows me away. (Can you tell I’m a little biased? 🙂 ) Anyway…

Thank you, Cindy.

I think I understood this concept — sort of — but until you put it this way, I hadn’t really thought it through. It’s so true. How many parents are sitting through children’s books each and every night?

Authors need to make sure they are entertaining their target audience (in this case, the children), but we also need to be aware of the cross-over audience. If it’s a children’s book, is there stuff in their for the parents? What about YA? I know a lot of mom’s who read YA. Is there humor in there that only they would understand? It doesn’t have to be much; just a bit of something in there to let the cross-over reader know you appreciate them and want to entertain them, too.

Very cool. Thanks, Cindy!


How have you seen this cross-over audience concept applied? Any suggestions for authors of a certain genre? Join the conversation below.





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Check out last year’s MARCH BOOK MADNESS here.


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