In today’s Journal
* Quote of the Day
* Topic: A Few Extra Thoughts on What Readers Want
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quote of the Day
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson (via The Passive Voice)
Yesterday I attended class. I was one of the smart ones who backed one of Deans’s Kickstarters for $5. And the Kickstarter funded and then reached two or three stretch goals.
I feel a little bit like a pirate. For a lousy $5 bill, I got away with
* Two “Tip of the Week” Lectures (value $50 each)
* The “Future Series 1 Refresh and Renew Bundle (a $300 value)
* The Six Classic Workshops Bundle ($900 value, though I already had three of them. Still a $450 value)
* Plus two books, one from Kris and one from Dean.
Not bad for five bucks. Just sayin’.
So yesterday I attended class, listening to two of the classic workshops I’d been planning to buy later for $150 each. Yep, not bad for $5.
Topic: A Few Extra Thoughts on What Readers Want
This is a follow-up of sorts on Alison’s PWW post “Readers mean well, but….”
One: It’s kind of cool in a weird, creepy way to know there are people out there who might have the unmitigated audacity to tell me what THEY think a character in one of my stories should do or what should happen next, etc. All without giving me money, of course.
(But hey, cross my palm with enough jing and I’ll write whatever you want. I can see it now: a disheveled writer in a seedy storefront, Novels While You Wait stenciled across the front window.)
I even think it’s kind of cute that some readers think I actually care about their thoughts on my writing. Seriously, the thought of it kind’a brings a tear to my eye and fills me with a little tingly sense of wonder.
Yeah, not really.
Two: We have an agreement, my readers and I.
First of all, we are not partners. I invest about 60 hours to write a 60,000 word novel. The reader invests around $5 for the opportunity to read that novel (about 83 cents per hour).
I owe the reader nothing beyond a good story. The reader owes me nothing beyond that $5 bill.
If readers like what I wrote, they buy more. If they don’t, they don’t. Shrug.
Three: As a writer, you should definitely be aware that there’s a reader out there on the other side of the keyboard. That will happen sometime after you stop concentrating on words and sentence structure, etc. as you type and just tell the story. That awareness of the reader marks the beginning of coming into your own as a writer.
But WHY are you aware of the reader? So you can cater to his every whim? No.
The reader is your mind-control target. You should control everything he sees, hears, tastes, smells and feels as he reads your short story or novel. Your job is to tell your readers what you want them to know. Period.
I know, I know. Someone told you to be vague in your descriptions and the reader would fill in the rest. Shrug. Do whatever you want. But the more you leave to the reader’s imagination the less deeply he’s engaged in your story and the easier it is to put it down and find something else to do.
Four: None of this means I don’t honestly appreciate people who read and enjoy my books. I do. I value them. That’s why I give them so many freebies and keep my prices at the rock bottom end of reasonable. That’s why I give discounts to any who order through my publisher website. And that’s why I keep churning out book after book after book.
But seriously, unless that reader happens to be “the” Stephen King, I’m probably not going to take writing advice or story-direction advice or what-a-character-should-or-should-not-do advice from him.
Today I’ll continue as a student for awhile.
Recently I published two new goals. Another alternative I’m considering now that I have 50 novels in my belt is stopping writing for awhile. We’ll see.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Business Musings: Phantom 2020” at https://kriswrites.com/2020/05/13/business-musings-phantom-2020-a-process-blog/.
See “How Reader Behavior Is Changing During the COVID-19 Crisis” at https://insights.bookbub.com/reader-behavior-changing-covid19-crisis/.
See “How Authors Are Approaching Book Promotion During COVID-19” at https://insights.bookbub.com/authors-book-promotion-covid-19/.
See “Virtual Book Launch Events: 8 Ideas from Authors” at https://insights.bookbub.com/virtual-book-launch-events/.
See “Nightfall Did Fall” at https://prowriterswriting.com/nightfall-did-fall.
See “Perilous Work: Writing Cliffhangers” at https://killzoneblog.com/2020/05/perilous-work-writing-cliffhangers.html. FWIW.
See “This Person Does Not Exist” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/this-person-does-not-exist/.
See “Bookshop, a new startup, is offering publications bigger kickbacks than Amazon” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/bookshop-a-new-startup-is-offering-publications-bigger-kickbacks-than-amazon/.
Fiction words yesterday…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 760 (Journal)
Writing of (novel)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 30061
Total fiction words for the year………… 309655
Total nonfiction words for the month… 8520
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 111630
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 421285
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 5
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 50
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31