A timely quote from MY favourite (living) author-to-read, Richard Ford, that alludes to the reason authors write – to be read … by Readers. It’s a symbiotic relationship: Authors need Readers, and Readers need something to read. Quite frankly, these are the two most important people in the entire writing/publishing business. One could say THE MOST IMPORTANT. Authors and Readers can do without all the middle-men-and-women (publishers, sales reps, booksellers, distributors – although maybe not Editors, who are the Author’s *ultimate and best* reader, after all) but Authors and Readers cannot exist without each other.
This fact came to mind recently after I received several emails from Readers (some known to me personally and others complete strangers) who had enjoyed one or the other of my two published works. All of these readers commented on how my writing had “touched” them in some way or another, so that they felt a true connection with me while reading. That, my friends, is why we write – to make a connection with the Reader; to move them in some way so they react to what we’ve written. The bonus was that these Readers actually reached back to me, the Author, and told me how my writing had effected them. Not all Readers take the time to tell an Author about their reading experience. I know I don’t do it often enough with the books that have really grabbed me, although I do try to recommend those books to other Readers and spread the word that way. It is so important to our fragile Author-egos to actually receive some praise now and again, and I’ve been fortunate to have heard from many of my Readers over the past couple of years. Even constructive criticism is welcome, because it means that the Reader has given some thought to what they read and want to help the Author improve their writing.
So here is a selection of articles and blog posts I’ve been collecting that look at this very interesting relationship between Authors and their Readers, what each person contributes to the relationship, and how they can make that relationship – and the writing/reading experience a great one for both.
First, though, I will begin with a book recommendation that works for both Authors and Readers: Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want To Write Them by Francine Prose
What Authors need to keep in mind about their Readers …
From Writers Write: The Five Senses – How readers remember stories
From chazzwrites: When Readers Wander Away
From Jane Friedman: 4 Ways to Find Readers Who Love Your Work
by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant
From wordserve water cooler: Twelve Qualities of a Big Story by Rachel Phifer
From Anthony Bidulka: Book Reviews: Which Ones do Readers Pay Attention to?
From Rachelle Gardner: Focus on Writing a Great Book
From Writers Write: Setting the Scene – Four Ways to Put the Reader in the Picture
What Readers need to know about Authors …
From Writers Write: How to write a great book review
From Ploughshares Literary Magazine: 14 Ways to Tick off a Writer by Rebecca Makkai
From The Masquerade Crew: 11 things you should never do to an author
From The New York Review of Books: Writing to Win by Tim Parks
On how Readers find books to Read …
From Bookavore: The main factor contributing to the problem of book discovery is the sheer volume of books out there
From HuffPost Books: These Amazing Classic Books Are So Short You Have No Excuse Not To Read Them
From HuffPost Books: The Meaning of Libraries by Michael Benson
From BOOKRIOT:The Decline and Fall of the Book Reviewing Empire by Peter Damien
From The Atlantic: This Woman Read One Book From Every Country in the World: Here Are Her Favorites by Uri Friedman
Why we should all read …
From HuffPost Books: Why Everyone Should Read More Science Fiction by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
From Scientific American: Novel Finding: Reading Literary Fiction Improves Empathy
Further reading on Readers and Reading: Oh, Readers … where art thou?
If you are an Author, what would you like Readers to know? If you are a Reader, what would you like Authors to know? Please write your comments below.