What Readers want….Are you sure?

Not sure why, but there seems to be this idea that readers want a certain type of book. That if a writer pulls away from the pack to write the story they have passion for, that it will be hated and not sell. I’m going to throw down the bullshite flag on this. It’s a myth. A writing myth. (Of which there seems to be a bushel full.)

Once upon time, when the only way to be published (yeah, I know there is more to that story) was go through a publisher, writers were forced to follow certain rules for the type of books that were acceptable by the publishers. As with anything, this grew into a fact of life that is mere mythology now.

If you are reading this blog then you are either self-published or you think of it. Self-publishers don’t have to follow this rule of the industry. They aren’t publishing for anyone else besides themselves, and possibly readers. This doesn’t mean you can’t follow the rules of storytelling, or have it edited for typos. You want to put out the best book that you can.

What you can do it experiment. You can try out new ideas. You can mix genres. You can write the strangest story ever.

There are readers out there for every type of book. Trust me, if you write the book and market it to the audience who wants it, it will sell. It might not sell like blockbusters, but it will sell and you will be happier for it.

14 thoughts on “What Readers want….Are you sure?

  1. Charles Yallowitz August 5, 2013 / 3:05 pm

    Full agreement. I’ve been told to write what’s popular so many times. Best to stick to your guns because writing something you love shines through. Self published two books with present tense style and still selling, so I have no idea what people were talking about.

    • Stephannie Beman August 8, 2013 / 6:01 pm

      It’s hard to write what is popular when it is constantly shifting and not something you want to write. Sticking to your guns and writing what you enjoy seems by far the saner path. πŸ˜€

      • Charles Yallowitz August 8, 2013 / 6:04 pm

        It really is difficult and works best when series are popular. Even easier when a movie comes out.

  2. rami ungar the writer August 5, 2013 / 3:58 pm

    That’s true. I can write almost anything I want and publish it. I just have to worry about the reviews I’ll get.

    • Stephannie Beman August 8, 2013 / 6:03 pm

      Good reviews means you connected with your target audience, aka readers like you. Bad reviews means you didn’t connect with your target audience, aka the person who doesn’t like the type of book and picked it up anyway.

  3. sknicholls August 5, 2013 / 4:39 pm

    I have written one of those books that not only crosses genre lines, It crosses the lines of fiction vs nonfiction. It has great reviews. With some of the feedback, I noticed that my first chapter has a flaw in that I condensed three chapters into one and upon doing so the flow was not quite right. I am preparing the book for paperback, I have worked in minor revisions to smooth that out. It is a non-formulaic book. The first and last chapters tie it up neatly. The first five chapters after the intro are basically the protagonist interacting with a couple of very pertinent and intimately involved characters with their own very relative stories, and then there are fifteen chapters of “Sybil’s Story” (third person)based on their conversations and Sybil’s diaries. Now…how do you get a non-formulaic, non-fiction, fiction that crosses genre in front of readers? I was just speaking with Ionia Martin about this in comments on my blog about a post called What is FAction? KDP on Amazon doesn’t allow you to pick but two categories, and they are very broad. Keywords don’t work that well IMHO. How do you get seen when you break away from the pack?

    • Stephannie Beman August 8, 2013 / 6:11 pm

      What I would do with such a book is pick two categories and leave it there until sales start to lag, then switch it to two different categories that relate to the book to catch the attention of a different set of readers and leave it there until sales start to lag, then pick another two set of categories. You can even mix and match categories from previous tries. Do this every few months and see how it goes. Another is to use social media/forums/blogs to connect with other people who might be interested in the same things you are and the subject matter of the book. Don’t sale to them, but make friends with them.

      • sknicholls August 8, 2013 / 6:17 pm

        Thanks. Sort of where I am. In order to reach a lag…there have to first be sells…hahaha. I was doing best under Historical fiction. Even though that category is usually war stories and alternate histories or historical romance. I don’t think I have found the right reader audience yet. I am also looking into ethnic history, and heritage.

        • Stephannie Beman August 11, 2013 / 9:44 pm

          That’s the bad part of writing something that doesn’t fit into genre lines. Finding an audience is a little harder to do. 😦 But don’t worry, you’ll find them eventually.

  4. Katie Cross August 5, 2013 / 6:13 pm

    I don’t even know if I could write something that was considered ‘what the readers want’ but not what I wanted to write. I’d have zero motivation. And it just makes me love the freedom of self publishing even more πŸ™‚

  5. M T McGuire August 7, 2013 / 1:21 pm

    I just write what comes out. It did OK in a British, piss poor kind of way but now both books are bombing in flames. They’ve won awards, they have great reviews but nobody’s buying. Then again, I am beginning to think the Internet has closed down for the summer it’s so quiet.



    • Stephannie Beman August 8, 2013 / 6:16 pm

      Sales drop about now with people paying for school stuff, clothes, and getting ready to throw their kids back into School. πŸ˜€

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