If writers could answer the question: what do readers want, it would be pure gold for them. Writer’s are often instructed to write what interests them and worry about the readers second. It’s a real conundrum, because most of us write to share our stories and want readers to like them. The reason behind the write what you like theory is that in reality, you may be the only one (or at least one of just a few) who actually read what you write, so you better like it.
Is there a way to bridge the gap between what you like and what readers like? Honestly, probably not in any contrived way. If writers try to write to a concept to attract readers by grabbing on to the most current genre craze, they’re likely to fail pretty miserably. I suppose the best we can do is write what we love and still try to find a way to mold it to what readers expect. That’s where forums, blogs and other social media connections can really help. They bring writers together with readers and help writers see how they can develop the ideas they love in a way that readers will enjoy.
Letting your favorite writers know what you like about their work–or when necessary, what you don’t like can really help improve their work over time. Along with social media, reviews are a good way to do that. Try to temper criticism with care, but don’t hold back important messages where the stories could be improved. Criticism hurts, but writers who truly care about what they are creating will take heed (after eating a pint or two of ice cream, or drinking a couple of beers) and use the criticism to improve their next pieces.
Tami Parrington is a freelance writer and author of seven novels including Hell’s Own. Check out Hell’s Own on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/Hells-Own-ebook/dp/B001B8QFF4