Have someone in your target audience read your story.
In the six years I've been writing fiction, I've never tried this. Until last month. Up to that point, only my writers group read my works-in-progress. And we're pretty much a bunch of moms. Some may even think of us as Old Ladies. I know this because one of my neighbors recently had a group of 8 year old girls ask if she was forty, when she's still in her early twenties. And I passed my early twenties a decade ago.
Anyway, my target is teenage boys. So I picked a 17 year old from church who had a reputation for being an avid reader. With much trepidation, I took the manuscript to his house. He was going to hate it. But, I had to face the music sometime. After all, if my story ever became an actual book, teenage boys would read it (or NOT read it...) and plaster critiques all over the Internet. Might as well get some of that feedback in the privacy of my own home.
Well, last night he came over to talk about his thoughts and ideas. It was great. Sure, he had issues with something on every other page, but as he spoke, I saw how I could strengthen it, things I could do to make it better. It was amazing. The things I needed to fix became clear to me
So, don't be afraid to let someone from your target audience read your manuscript. It will only make it better.