Each year, Writer’s Digest selects “101 Best Websites for Writers.” Sadly, their list is just the tip of the iceberg. I say sadly not just because I’m one of the plethora of writing blogs out there (although I don’t talk exclusively about writing at my website), but because of the effect that so many “writing sources” have upon authors and aspiring authors.
Writing blogs potentially insulate writers from their real audience: Readers.
To illustrate how this could be possible, read this excerpt from J.A. Konrath in The Value of Publicity:
Here’s the deal: Readers are my customers, not writers. Readers don’t even know who the Big 6 are. They don’t care.
I’m mentioned a lot in the publishing community, which is small, closed, and uninteresting to anyone who isn’t in it. But because we’re in it, and we care about it, we incorrectly assume that because writers know who I am, readers must as well.
So while critique groups, writing blogs, writing discussions, and the publishing community often consume much of a writer’s attention, they can potentially mislead us into thinking we’re connecting with our audience. Of course, fellow writers CAN be part of our audience. But we’re mistaken to think that buzz about us inside the writing community equates to buzz outside the writing community, where it really matters.
That’s how the writing community potentially insulates writers.
So while we debate whether an author should blog or how much to “show v. tell,”, our real audience could care less. We get lost in feverish discussions about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, but our potential readers couldn’t give a rip. We argue “the rules,” but the general public has no idea what rules we’re talking about. We strive to make a name for ourselves in the publishing community, but “because we’re in it, and we care about it, we incorrectly assume that because writers know who I am, readers must as well.
Last year I read The Silent Land by Graham Joyce. The reader part of me enjoyed the book. The premise was simple, compelling, and made me want to finish. The writer part of me thought the prose was inconsistent and often clunky. In the end, I felt the book was okay.
Nevertheless, it helped me realize a very important truth: Unlike writers, readers have only “one part” to satisfy. What I mean by that is, Writers must wrestle with the technical details of a story while trying to enjoy it. Readers only want to enjoy it. To lose sight of this dynamic is to lose sight of our ultimate aim.
If you’re reading this post, you’re probably a writer. Like me, you enjoy learning about craft, publishing trends, and marketing tips. You listen intently to the debate about self-publishing and traditional publishing. You also are uniquely warmed by recognition, encouragement, and praise from other writers. But please understand this: Most of your readers probably don’t care about any of that.
Do you agree that the writing community can insulate writers from readers? Do writing “rules” really matter to readers? In what ways do writers read differently than readers? How can a writer balance connecting with readers versus connecting with other authors?
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Mike Duran writes supernatural suspense. His latest release, “The Telling,” is about a disfigured modern-day prophet who must overcome his own despair in time to seal one of nine mythical gates of hell. You can learn more about him and his upcoming projects at mikeduran.com.[ Next Post → ] [ ← Previous Post ]