Monday, 11 April 2011

The 3 Ages of Nerd, and the Targeting of Audiences

3AgesofNerd 600px

I was at Kapow this weekend, and the above is a comic that popped into my head while I was there. I wasn't at all sure about the event; apart from the preposterous, retrogressive and bordering-on-misogynistic No Female Guests policy*, I just wasn't at all sure it would be a very Mo-Bot-friendly crowd. Essentially, my stuff seems to go over well with people in categories (1) and (3) above, but it seemed like Kapow would be attended overwhelmingly by Category (2) people, and I worried it would not have enough swearing, dismemberment and queasily inappropriate overtones of sexual violence for their tastes.**

But you know what, it went really well. I met lots of lovely, interesting people there, and sold books to many of them. Several people came up and bought a copy saying something along the lines of "I know I'm not the target audience for this, but...". And then I came home from the convention to read this really lovely review of the book by Rol Hirst, which begins with the line: "I am not the target market for this book."

So I just wanted to say, to anyone who's reading this but maybe thinks they're not the target audience for this book: you know what? You are the target audience for this book. This book is targeted at People Who Like Things That Are Awesome. Do you like things that are awesome? Then you are the target audience for this book.

Cover colours TARGET

In a way the whole phrase 'target audience' is misleading, as it implies I had any idea of such a thing when I was writing it, and sadly I'm nowhere near that organised. If I had any kind of target it was myself as a kid; young Neill growing up in suburban Oxford, bored and living on the weekly bursts of excitement that a Saturday morning of comics and cartoons would bring. But you know what else Young Neill loved, at around that time? Douglas Adams, Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Star Wars...

I'm not trying to compare Mo-Bot High to those works, that would be insane. But I'm just trying to make clear that in writing this book for kids, I was in no way trying to 'write down', to 'write simple', or anything like that. I was trying to write the best, funniest, most exciting story I was capable of writing. Just, y'know, with less F-bombs than maybe I was used to throwing around. And you know what? Having to be funny without being able to drop the F-bomb just means having to be more funny.

I'm going to quote from that review I mentioned earlier because, at the risk of sounding self-aggrandising, it made a bunch of points that I really do agree with.

Mo-Bot High is tons of colourful fun for readers of all ages, but I'd recommend it particularly if you're looking for a comic to interest your own kids, young nephews, nieces etc. We do need to encourage the next generation of comic readers if the medium is going to survive beyond ourselves...
So to sum up: dudes. Seriously. Go buy my book.

* Before anyone sues me, I'm aware this wasn't an actual Policy. As far as I know. Come on, Melinda Gebbie was there and everything.
** I'm joking of course! I know not all modern superhero comics are like that. Um.

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