“You look ravishing tonight,” Marco breathed into the dark-haired beauty’s ear as he led her to the dance floor. The exotic sound of a tango filled the room and the couple embraced in a passionate dance.
While the first paragraph of this essay evokes romance and seduction, the emotion that a reader wants from an author is pure, innocent love. As writers, we should strive to attain that lasting kind of devotion from our readers; a faithful, monogamous relationship. Following are some ideas to build a life-long love.
Invite your reader in. Once you are comfortable in your genre, you can identify your target audience. Who are they? Why do they read mysteries or (insert your genre here)? Encourage them to read your product by building a web presence and blogging regularly. Writing is lonely work, but you must always imagine your reader looking over your shoulder. Keep them in mind as you labor.
Connect with your reader. Write with your reader in mind. What are their likes and dislikes? Put yourself in their place. Above all, share your heart. Vulnerability builds loyalty. We must create characters that our readers connect with on an emotional level.
Don’t frustrate your reader. Build tension, but don’t carry it on too long. You can’t hide the main character in your story forever without annoying your reader. Don’t leave them hanging in the end. They want something to take away, something hopeful, unexpected or thought-provoking. That’s what makes bookworms crave your next novel.
Respect your reader. How can they benefit from your work? Remember, something you have written has the power to change a person’s life. You don’t want someone to read your stuff and forget it. You want your words to take up residence in their hearts and minds. Words are powerful. Treat them, and your reader, with dignity.
Stephen King, On Writing: “I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking, ‘I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?’ For me, that first reader is my wife, Tabitha.”