Tami did a post last week she called “What Do Readers Want?” and it got me to thinking about the other side of the coin: What Do Writers Want?
I’m not talking about a spot on the best sellers list, fame and fortune, etc.; that goes without saying. No, the gist of Tami’s post was what does a reader want from a writer? What are their expectations? I did a post a little while back about one of the things writers want from readers: reviews. If you liked what you read, leave a review so other readers can find us, too. But there’s more. With independent electronic publishing, the chasm between the writer and the reader has become more of an easily crossed ditch. Readers have the unprecedented ability to reach out and connect with their favourite author like never before. I couldn’t have imagined dropping Stephen King a line after being blown away by Cujo or The Shining, much less letting him know how disappointed I was with Tommyknockers (sorry, Mr. King, you should have edited that sucker down considerably).
I’ve gotten some great reviews for my novels, but every once in a while, someone reaches out on Facebook, or Twitter, or sends a personal email. That’s special. And it’s wanted. One of the ways we can improve as writers is by getting feedback from the people who are reading our books. A friend of mine who lives in Mexico is currently reading On Unfaithful Wings, and she messaged me on Facebook to let me know she had found a typo on page 28. The beautiful thing is, I can correct it, re-upload it, and no one else will be the wiser. Chances are good that, if a misspelled word got by Stephen King’s editors, they weren’t going to run around to all the bookstores with a bottle of liquid paper and make the corrections.
And do you realize you can potentially have some input into how a series goes? Mega-selling indie author John Locke claims he dropped a whole storyline from his series because of negative reader feedback. How’s that for power?
Every writer starts out writing for themselves, but as soon as we start to publish, it’s not just about us anymore. It’s about you, dear reader. You are the one that is going to spend you’re hard-earned $3.99 to pick up my latest book, so don’t be afraid to let me know what you think, how you feel. Tell me if there is a typo; let me know if the formatting goes wonky somewhere.
Just be gentle and don’t get personal…I am a sensitive writer, after all.
Bruce Blake is the author of On Unfaithful Wings and All Who Wander Are Lost, the first two Icarus Fell novels. His next release will be Blood of the King, the first book in the Khirro’s Journey epic fantasy due in September.