Five Things Authors Must Do From A Reader’s Point Of View

1. Respect your reader’s intelligence.

I am tired of books who spell EVERYTHING out instead of realizing the person reading the book has something of substance between her ears. Read this to see what I mean:

 

Terri spent most of the day cleaning. A clean house shows better than a dirty one. After last night’s storm, this hot, steamy, summer Georgia morning made cleaning even harder. There almost wasn’t enough time to clean up before her date with Jeff. She desperately needed to shower away all the sweat and grim typical to Georgia in the summer, the morning after a storm.

Now before you ask, I made up this passage, so please do not think it is from one of the books I have read for a review. Did you catch the issue? I think it is a very safe bet to assume your reader will know about summers in the south. If you don’t, let me fill you in, it’s hot and the morning after a nighttime storm it’s miserable.  Perhaps the reader has spent her whole life on Antarctica and has no knowledge of the weather patterns in the southern states. The author does have the responsibility to create a full experience for the reader. However, look closer at the passage:

After last night’s storm… summer Georgia morning… Georgia in the summer, the morning after a storm

We get it. It’s hot, it’s the morning after a storm, and it’s in Georgia.  Trust your reader to understand the first time she reads it. If this detail is important to the story, reiterate a different way, or better yet show the reader.

2. Know when to end your story.

I love stories. Trust me when I say that is not an exaggeration. I have withdraws when I don’t read for a few days. I actually get moody. Sometimes I feel depressed when I finish a book. If it is a series, I jump into the next book, but when that series ends- oh boy I may not be a very nice person (you could even call me that word that rhymes with ditch). However, all good things must come to an end. I can’t tell how YOU will know because it is YOUR story, but a hero doesn’t need to face obstacle after obstacle.

3. Interact with your readers socially.

Do you know why I review books? Yes, I get free books and that’s way cool. But I like working with the authors. It’s exciting to meet an author and help them promote their book. Many of the authors I work with are indie authors and they need all the help they can get. I see it like rooting for the little gal. I know these authors are busy. It takes less than a second to like a post. It takes about two minutes to share a post or respond to it. When an author responds to me socially, IT MAKES MY DAY. I totally geek out. I have printed screen shots of some of the interactions I’ve had.  See, every author has done the one thing I have been working towards- they have finished a book. I admire each author I’ve reviewed, interviewed, and spotlighted.

4. Don’t always use a thesaurus.

Read this:

Terri waltzed into the room wearing an accouterment made of dazzling baubles. Every fellow in the ostentatious room turned his craniumum to watch her flow down the staircase.

I understand not using the same old words over and over. However, it’s ok to just say:

Terri looked so hot as she walked down the stairs that every guy in the joint turned to watch her.

5. Use a professional editor.

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is I cannot edit myself. When I read what I’ve written I see it the way it should be. Please pay for a good editor. Find one who will not only check grammar but will also make sure the main character stays blonde throughout the whole story. Read this and see if you can find the mistake.

Terri leaned in to talk to Jeff. The music loudly played, making it hard for any kind of polite coversation.

I’ll just share this to show you what I mean:

This post may make some mad. That’s not what I want. What I want is for every writer who dreamed of finishing a book to not only make it to THE END but to succeed.  So who am I to write this? I’m a reader who’s read over a hundred books last year and has read over fifty books so far this year. I’ve read multiple genres from both indie and traditionally published authors.  Books are who I am. They are in my blood.

Author

3 comments

  1. You are a reader, writer, and an editor. You don’t have to be a master baker to know when a cake tastes bad. It’s the same with books. Authors should be avid readers for exactly the reasons you list. Without reading, you don’t challenge the way you think about your genre or how you write it. What are the trends? What isn’t happening that used to be? How has story telling changed?

    You go. You’re writing about what you know. Those who get mad maybe need to step back and ask what is it that upsets them? Maybe they need to take a lesson or read a good book.

  2. The Batman cartoon you used is about splitting infinitives. But the example you gave (“the music loudly played”) is not a split infinitive. In other words, I don’t see anything wrong with the example you gave.
    I don’t mean to be critical! I like your blog. Just want to clarify.
    Also, even if you meant to give an example of a split infinitive, most experts say that it’s actually ok to do that. For example . . . https://stroppyeditor.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/to-helpfully-clarify-to-better-communicate-a-history-of-the-split-infinitive/
    I hope this is helpful. Keep up the good work!

    1. Wow. Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t realize that. I need to look into that more. Thanks for letting me know. Learn something new everyday.

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