Writing Advice

How to charm your readers

Make 'em laugh, make 'em cry, but don't put 'em to sleep!

Make ’em laugh, make ’em cry, but don’t put ’em to sleep!

How do I get readers to buy into my books? (Notice how I say “buy into”, not “buy”) That’s the question most writers ask me. Usually newer writers, just getting started in the business. Noticed how I said “buy into” and not “buy”? There’s a reason why. You need to have readers “buy into” your story first, before they actually “buy.”

Yes, you heard correctly. As a writer you only have a few pages to hook someone  to “buy into” the story and this usually determines if you get the sale or not.  But before you can worry about sales, you sure as heck need to worry about pleasing your readers, they’re the ones who invest their time and emotions into your work and if the story doesn’t gel with them then they’ll just move onto the next one.

So how do you get someone to gel with your story? First off you need to understand that it’s not “your story” anymore. When you publish, the story automatically hits the public market and it becomes your potential readers’s story. They want to be moved when they pick up a book, not put to sleep.

Now here’s the payoff folks, listen closely. Ready?

It all comes down to emotion. Yep. You HAVE to show the emotion on the page. “Show don’t tell in writing” is cliché for a reason. It’s because you have to show it to move the reader, so they want to care about Mary or Bobby Joe and what they’ll do next. Will they get married? Will one of them move away to never be heard from again? If you can’t get that emotional factor down pat then you’re just setting yourself up for a reader that’s pushing the “snooze-factor” button on your book and probably not coming back.

We’re all human here. Humans read books for the emotional experience.

Read books that are known for their romantic factor embedded into the subplot. You don’t need to pick up a romance novel per say, although reading the right romance novel wouldn’t hurt either. There’s a reason why romance sells like hotcakes and is not about to let up anytime soon.

So let’s review this one last time. Plot+ Character+ Emotion=Happy Reader.

It’s that simple.

See you next time.


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