Audience of One by Nathan McCurleyJeff has an idea for a book. He emailed Al Pitampalli, author of the recent Domino Project book Read This Before Our Next Meeting, and set up a time to talk to him over the phone. He wanted to get Al’s feedback. When Jeff got him on the phone, Al asked a very simple question.

The question every author should ask themselves.

The question you should be asking yourself.

“Who do you think your audience is?”

“Well…” Jeff said, “People kind of like me. Young creatives.”

“That’s good,” said Al, and Jeff started to get excited. Images of his book flashed before his imagination with, “Forward by Al Pitampalli,” on the cover.

But then Al said, “But it’s not good enough.” Jeff’s enthusiasm flagged.

“When I was writing my book, I had a very specific person in mind.” Al said he had one individual in mind. Just one.

He said he knew he didn’t have to please everyone.

He didn’t even have to please a niche.

He just had to make that one friend happy. That’s it.

Who Is Your One?

Although I’ve heard about this technique before, I’ve never actually tried it.

The last book I ghostwrote, I had a general audience in mind. I tried to write for them. It worked pretty well, too. The feedback from the book has been very positive.

However, I didn’t try to write for him, that one specific person. I wish I could go back and try it. Instead, we’re going to try it here.

Who is your one?

Who do you need to write for?

Who bugs you enough that you need to change their mind about something?

Who do you love enough to share a new idea with?

Who do you need to tell your darkest secret?


First, pick your one person. Visualize them in your mind just for a second: you’re hanging out at your house with them. Then, the subject of your book or story comes up. How would you explain it to them in a simple way so they would understand?

For fifteen minutes, explain whatever writing project you’re working on to your “one person.” Then, post it in the comments.

How does it feel? Is this helpful? Or just confusing?

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).