Many authors struggle with how to deliver what their readers want to read. If we knew what they wanted we would write it. Right? After all, wouldn’t that be the way to a successful book? It would be like having the inside track on becoming a successful author.
But I don’t know that we always do that…I know I don’t. Sometimes we (I) write for ourselves with maybe some distant thought of keeping our readers in mind.
Trust Your Genre
One golden rule I’ve learned as a Western writer for men is to keep the story moving with lots of action and strong characters. I’ve read countless Westerns and I know what I like to read.
TIP: As you’re writing you should also be reading books in your genre.
By reading successful authors you begin to live their stories and get a feel for how they write and why they describe a story like they do. I’m certainly not saying to plagiarize them but, rather, to use them to motivate and inspire your own stories.
Successful writers are successful for a reason…they know what their readers want and give it to them, consistently. And that’s how they get their fans to come back for more. And if you’re following what they’re doing to be successful then that will increase your chances of being successful as well. Every writer’s dream, right?
Make Your Ideal Reader A Character
I’m sure we’ve all heard that we need to write to one person and to do that we need to visualize them, describe them, and then talk to them as we write. We need to talk to them as if we’re at a bar or coffee shop and telling them a great story.
How many of us have actually done this (you can’t see me but my hand did not go up). On the other hand, how many of us have created characters for our novels (all hands should go up, we’re writers).
So why not make a character out of your ideal reader? I’m currently working on mine and let me tell you, someone is emerging from the mirage that is becoming more and more defined as THE person who wants to read my story. As I look at him and focus my attention on what he looks like, what his likes and wants are, and what catches his interest I’m beginning to see a reader that wants to read a great, action-packed Western.
Of course he looks Western but he also knows about the West, about gunfighters and cowboys, and even about life on the Western Frontier. I cannot fool this reader of mine, he’s too astute and wants accuracy as well as great story-telling.
They Read Your Genre For A Reason
Most of us have our favorite genres or two so we’re always on the lookout for a great book. We bring with us experience and expertise and when we want reading entertainment we turn to our old standbys, those genres that we know and enjoy.
So, too, with your readers. But it’s up to you to write to them…not above them. Understand their reasons for reading, why this is their genre, and, finally, why they should read you. By creating your “reading character” you are creating your ideal reader and then you are writing just for them…and they’ll know it!
Always give consideration to that reader and give them what they want…and they will come back for more.
What’s Your Genre?
And can you create a character that’s your ideal reader who will hold you true to your story? I think this can be applied to any genre; whether you’re writing mystery (your character probably has mysterious traits), romance (man or woman their eyes light up at the thought of love and pain), SciFi (maybe they’re rebellious or even geeky), or, finally, murderers and detectives (perhaps your ideal reader likes the CSI look or maybe is an actual investigator or, gulp, murderer).
I’m off to have coffee with this rugged, unshaved cowboy who looks like he’d rather shoot me than read me. Now isn’t that ideal?