How does the modern writer find readers?/Friday Update July 3, 2015

birth of a novelThis is a post int the ‘Birth of a Novel’ blog hop.

Once upon a time…. This is the way writers used to think about finding readers. They thought they had to be gentlemen, and adopt the views that gentlemen had about things. On matters on which gentlemen might differ, they thought the only thing to do was to not take a stand for either side.

So in an older novel, you might find that a writer that was later know for being a doctrinaire secularist would not put that view forth, but try to appeal to religious readers as well. A writer that you know supported a certain side in a controversy tried to put that aside. This was because they were writing for a mass audience, and offending any part of it was not seen as a good idea.

Now we live in a different age and there are different rules. There are many times more books out there demanding a reader’s attention. And our society is as divided as society was during the American Civil War— it’s just that the two sides are not divided neatly into separate states, so a shooting war, thank God, is not imminent— I think.

Writers are now pressed to take a side. And I’m beginning to think that can be a good thing— if you do it right.

Being a mean-spirited writer is not the way to do it right. There are a few authors I’ve dropped because their secularist, almost atheist opinion comes out in frequent comments about how religious believers are irrational, under-educated, and such. You don’t want to be too negative to the group of readers you are NOT aiming to win over.

But I think a writer these days should search through his opinions and find causes they can be passionate about, such as:

  • defending marriage, or forcing society to accept new forms of marriage
  • cherishing all innocent life, or abortion rights and ‘death with dignity’
  • defending the Christian (Jewish, Muslim) faith, or promoting secularism or even atheism

If you take a side on something you believe in, and you are willing to read actual books to find out what the most well-informed people on that side are saying, you might writing things that are appealing enough to the subgroup of readers that share your views that they will become your loyal readers.
Friday Update:

I’m afraid that the past week has not been as productive of new writing as I would have liked. I produced some poems and, inspired by something Pastor Tom Brock said on the television show ‘The Pastor’s Study‘, started on a short story which will probably be called ‘The Welcoming Church’ which centers on a young man who likes to steal and seeks a church home that welcomes ‘kleptophiles’. I am very optimistic that this story will be finished soon, and I’m already thinking about the book cover— since even short stories need book covers when they are going to be published as ebooks!

I’ve been busy with other things, especially with my ‘controversial’ Facebook page. I’ve been making several posts there a day to try to help people impacted by current events. Also I’ve had to deal with a sick cat and sick kitten, both of whom died yesterday, and also had to put the hay in the barn loft yesterday which required rapid clean-up of said barn loft.

If you are interested in the ‘Birth of a Novel’ blog hop, it takes place on Fridays and you can find out about it here:

4 thoughts on “How does the modern writer find readers?/Friday Update July 3, 2015

  1. Oh, boy. Talk about a can of worms. (btw, that is a cool one there on the left)
    I have strong opinions but I try not to express them in public. To my friends and family, HO YES, but to potential readers, No.
    One of my favorite authors could do no wrong. I loved everything he wrote whether it was on a book page or a used paper napkin. I didn’t care. But he began preaching eco-terrorism and violence. I gave up on him. It’s fine to have an opinion, but he went way overboard.

  2. I think advocating for violence goes far too far. But in the early stages when an author is seeking an initial reader group, Christian authors may be better off seeking Christian readers than winning over atheists, and atheist authors will get more fans among atheists than among the devout. At least in today’s publishing world, it helps to be a part of some group with shared opinions or ideas, to benefit from group loyalty. But I can understand being uncomfortable expressing opinions that people might disagree with.

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