Thursday, October 6, 2011

Writers Write for Readers

Thursday Thoughts on Reading and Writing

Most readers have their favorite authors. When a new book comes out that one of my favorite authors has written, I don’t even read a review of the book or read the book’s back cover print. Only one time have I been disappointed by doing so. Recently I started reading a book by a writer whose other books had been political thrillers; by the time I got to Chapter Two I honestly thought I was reading a Nicholas Sparks (whom I also like) book. The author had radically changed genres and I was disappointed. I wanted to read a political thriller and got a romance.

Readers don’t want their authors to change genres on them. Writers who write in more than one genre will usually use a pseudonym/pen name for each category in which they write. Romance author Nora Roberts also writes under three other names. You’re probably familiar with her thriller/mystery novels that she writes under the name of J.D. Robb (I’m not giving away any secrets—it’s on Wikipedia.) By doing this, her readers know which kind of book they’re getting when they select Nora Roberts or J.D. Robb.

Not many writers are as prolific in publishing novels as is Nora Roberts. But she has done a wise thing in separating her writing categories by using a different name for each.

Writers, have you ever tried to shift categories in your writing and still use the same name? If so, have you received letters from readers saying you had confused them by doing this? As writers we must have our audience in mind at all times. If we skip around in all areas of writing using the same name, we will confuse and perhaps even lose readers. Reader loyalty is a precious commodity to a writer and we should do nothing to jeopardize that connection. So if you feel compelled to write in different areas, remember your readers and use a different name for each category in which you write.

If not for readers, authors would languish and fade away not to be read again, at least not much. Readers (and I am one) want consistency from their favorite authors. It is compelling for writers to remember that.


Till next time ... keep on smiling.

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