The 5 Age Categories Book Authors Need to Know

Are you an author who struggles to understand or define your audience? This is often one of the trickiest parts of writing. Defining exactly who’s supposed to read your book may feel like a Herculean task, but identifying just a few major categories is a major step forward.

For example, many choose to begin by identifying the age range of their audience or in other words, the average ages of the people who will most enjoy their book. Here are five basic age categories to consider. 

1. Concept Books: Ages 0-4 

As the name suggests, this category typically includes short books, with little plot, simple language, and a single protagonist. 

2. Picture Books: Ages 3-8 

While the complexity of the books in this category vary, most of these books have a basic plot, creative illustrations, and slightly more advanced language. Many children and parents remember these books fondly as the years go by! 

3. Chapter Books: Ages 8-10

There are a couple of levels of chapter books, but broadly, this is where pictures stop and longer word counts begin. 

4. Young Adult: Ages 10-18 

Like picture books, young adult books range quite a bit, as readership radically transforms from the age of 10 to 18. Books become intensely popular in this state. For example, young adult novels by award-winning author Daniel Handler have been made into a Netflix show, and Daniel Handler himself is a well-known author. 

5. Adult: Ages 17 and Up 

By this point, most readers are about at the same level, so the type of story they read is primarily about personal preference or other demographic information. Often, though, the plots and subplots are complex, character arcs sophisticated, and language advanced. 

Age is just one demographic through which to define your audience; however, it’s one of the most useful categories to use to start this process. After age, you may consider gender, race, regional location, occupation, class, and ethnicity. All can help you pin down your perfect audience! 

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