I have been a bird owner since 1998. In that time, I have raised, bred, and cared for my birds with love and affection. So when I decided to write a children’s book based on my parrot Jasper, I add some of my experience to the story. When it came time for me to start looking for people to critique it, I thought of my friend Nita in New Hampshire. She and I had met on a bird forum years ago and had struck up a friendship. Nita has been a bird breeder for well over 30 years so it only made sense for her to read my MS.
I had taken some liberties when it came to a bird hatching and I knew she would zero in on that part- she did. She laughed and said you really took some liberties with your writing. I laughed back and then told her I had kept it short due to length and not wanting to lose my targeted audience which are kids.
I mentioned to her how I had just finished reading a book where one of main characters had a cockatiel. According to this book this bird could sing over 40 songs and not just sing the tunes but the actually words. I have raised cockatiels since 1998 and to date not one has sung the words to any song. I might be able to buy the 40 songs but that was it. She giggled at this information and decided I did not go outside the box too much. Thinking back, I have decided to edit and put in a short paragraph to make the hatching more realistic.
As writers we take liberties though we try to keep it within reason. While I enjoyed the book with the singing cockatiel, it was in the back of my subconscious. Every time I read about that character I felt a little dread for I knew it would be repeated again about this amazing bird.
So, this reminded me to know my target audience. One needs to do constant research time and time again. You never know who will pick up your book. These are the people who will buy your book and will decide whether they want to recommend it to others.