There is a difference between 'the public' and 'the audience'. The public is the passive realm of the removed spectator that will, on any whim, hang you one day and resurrect you the next. To believe in the public and their mutable tastes out of some misguided effort to enlist their approval is to surrender your power as a writer, to surrender your integrity and the suppleness necessary for nourishing your best dreams.
'Audience', on the other hand, is an act of the imagination, a creative act in which the writer/artist temporarily sets aside, or steps away from, his/her egocentric needs and anxieties to take up another vantage point from which to view what he/she is writing. It is not a demographic so much as a contrasting perspective that is fundamentally in conflict with the sentiment of the story. Audience must always play adversary/antagonist to the writer's protagonist, not the protagonist IN the story but the writer-as-protagonist. Audience is the necessary goad that assiduously asks for more evidence, more proof, for what the writer is asking it to feel.