The Best Perspective to Appeal to Your Reader

Since 1995, the book The 5 Love Languages has successfully driven home the point that you must speak the language of the person you’re trying to reach, or you’re probably not communicating successfully.

Translate, or lose your audience

Translate, or lose your audience.

Writers confront the same issue. If you don’t translate what you want to say into the language of your listeners, you may not be reaching them. Now I’m not talking about adults trying to speak teenager (that usually doesn’t work) or feeling you need to swear in order to make your dialogue more realistic for the world.

I’m not suggesting you change your voice; however, I do recommend you change your perspective and write from the perspective of your readers so you can use your voice to address the felt need of your audience.

When you’re writing, step into the shoes of your reader. Look through their eyes. Know what they want to know. Ask yourself the tough question, “Why should someone care about what I have just written?” In writing, these words sound a bit harsh. But if you don’t have solid answers for the questions “So what?” or “Who cares?” you may want to reconsider your approach.

There are a few places in your book that are key to ensuring you are carrying the perspective of your audience as you write. They include:

Title and Subtitle

Readers must be able to see why your content matters to them. The first words they read are your title and subtitle. If it doesn’t touch their felt need, you don’t have a reader.

Back Cover Copy

Your back cover copy must speak to the benefits a person will receive if they pick up your book. If they don’t see a direct connection between your content and their needs, they won’t read your book.

Creative Chapter Titles

I’ve found creative chapter titles are also a powerful tool to engage your reader. Let’s say that you’re writing a book about your life and one of your chapter titles is My Childhood. That title works for those who know you personally. But honestly, will anyone else care about your childhood if they don’t see a direct connection to his or her own life?

The good news is that we all can learn from each other and I can get something valuable out of the content in that chapter. But the chapter name is telling me I won’t. So change the title. Look at the chapter from the perspective of your readers and ask yourself, What element most typifies my childhood and is something others can relate to or learn from? 

Try a chapter title that may relate more to your audience, like Saved from Rebellion; Overcoming Abuse; Orphanages and Foster Care; Growing Up in a Third-World Country; Raised in a Military Family, etc. I’m sure you can come up with something better! But do you see how these titles reach out to your reader’s perspective with a personal connection more than My Childhood? I like to call this a “Not Me” focus. Your chapter’s content may be exactly the same, but you’ve connected that content to your reader through a title.

Another example. Let’s say your book is on fasting (I think I want to fast from fasting because a fast is always too slow). Instead of chapter titles that talk about the issues of fasting, why not have chapters about common questions, issues, and benefits that most people face when they choose to fast. Don’t talk about fasting from your point of view as a teacher giving principles, but from the perspective of the person making an effort to fast, addressing those needs.

Hit the Mark by Identifying with Your Reader

Seeing your topic from your reader’s point of view may not change what your basic content is, but it may dramatically change how you present that content.

The perspective you must use when trying to appeal to your reader is his or her own perspective. Use your own voice, but use your voice communicating through the lens of the other person’s point of view and need.

Question: Give me a before-and-after example of something you changed because you saw your writing through the lens of your reader?

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