Write What Readers Want to Read

One of the questions I ask in my workshops is “Who do you write for? Yourself? The publisher? The reader?” Many authors make the mistake of writing for self or for the publisher. While writing for both are important, they are not as important as writing for the reader.

Look into the archives of your literary experience and you may recall a play by Shakespeare, one of the world’s most popular writers, called “As You Like It.” The title reveals why Shakespeare’s work is read and enjoyed hundreds of years after his passing. He understood what his audience liked and wanted and he gave it to them.

He wrote about things people could relate to, were curious about, and he wrote in everyday words people used and understood instead of trying to impress them with his high vocabulary.

One of Expert Publishing’s most successful authors is a colon cancer survivor. She writes about her medical experience, but more importantly, she writes about her new daily routine, the impact of her diagnosis on her relationships with her family members, her embarrassing as well as her triumphant moments dealing with her new life. She understands readers want to know more than the medical statistics, more  than the company line regarding what to tell new cancer patients, more than all the good that can come from adversity. Her first book sold thousands of copies and had multiple printings because she understands how important the reader is and honors that in her writing.  She’s now working on her fourth book, and she still keeps writing with the reader in mind.

What are you writing about? No matter what it is, you’re writing to a reader. Visualize that reader. Ask yourself, “What would the reader want to know?” Then answer the question to the best of your ability. That doesn’t mean you get bogged down in purple prose that makes the eyes glaze over. It means your writing relates to your reader on a level of two human beings communicating.

When you write, you are sending a message to your reader, but you’re not getting feedback the way you do when you’re communicating face to face with another person. Your job is to provide the reader sufficient information so he/she doesn’t have to fill in the blanks, especially since they can’t ask you for clarity.

I’m not suggesting you’ll become another Shakespeare, but I know you’ll create a fan base if you write what readers want to read.

Happy writing!



1 Response to “Write What Readers Want to Read”

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