Anyway, I don’t believe the old writer’s adage to “write to your audience” as if only people of the same approximate age of my main characters will read that book. My personal reading habits alone defy that model. It is too much like "write what you know." Which sounds logical, until you apply it to the fantasy writers out there, or the SciFi genre or the paranormal crowd.
I recently read in the Kindle Direct Publishing newsletter about the top twenty most well-read cities in America. It’s an interesting collection of not only cities, but what was the bestselling genre sold for some of them (nonfiction, cooking, children’s books, etc.). Now this is information an author can use.
To begin with, you could choose a city you know and love from that list of topmost-book-reading devotees and make that place a central theme to your next book, a character of its own. Think of Tara Plantation in Gone with the Wind. Or for a more timely example, Lisa Turner’s Memphis in A Little Death in Dixie.
Follow your genre and market heavily (local newspaper articles, TV station spots, radio ads, billboards) in those cities which devour your kind of books. Amazon’s Author Center states “Nielsen BookScan does not aggregate sales data for Kindle or ebooks, or for books available only through third party sellers.” HOWEVER, Amazon compiled these figures and included Kindle e-book sales.
I predict Nielsen BookScan and the like will incorporate e-books sales. Just like Bestseller Lists will incorporate e-books. And contests will allow e-book submissions. All that will have to change to accommodate the jinormous elephant in the room. Because e-books are big sellers.
In the meantime, write what moves you.