Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What readers want from authors

As readers move from traditional hardbound books to digital books for the various e-readers available now and in the future, one thing hasn’t changed over the years, the reader’s expectations. They expect a level of quality when they spend their money to purchase a hard copy, or time downloading a digital book.

What readers expect:

  • Readability
  • Believability
  • Characters they can empathize with
  • Believable Dialogue
  • Descriptive
  • Good editing
  • Deep POV
  • Tight writing
  • Consistency
  • Good word choice
  • Proper use of nouns, verbs, and adjectives
  • Proper grammar
  • Proper punctuation
  • Proper spelling
  • Words that don’t send the reader to the dictionary
  • A book that doesn’t bore the reader

This is only a short list, but you get the idea. Readers are author’s best friend or their worst enemy, the author makes the difference by the words in their story, how well the edited the manuscript is, and the author proofreads it before it reaches the reader.

Some may think this is a lot to ask, but consider the fact, the author’s reputation is on the line with every piece of writing they prepare for consumption by readers. This could be a blog about the book, a viral book tour, an author’s web site, a press release about their book or any piece of copy.

Authors need to take readers seriously. Word of mouth advertising is still the best form of advertising. How will the reader talk about your books, authors? Will they give it thumbs up or thumbs down because there are errors? It’s your choice authors.

Robert Medak
Freelance Writer, Blogger, Editor, Reviewer


  1. I really like this list, Robert, but aren't we doing a disservice to literacy if we avoid words that send readers to the dictionary? At least a few times?

    1. That is true, Laurie. My point is we don't always need to use a 25 dollar word when a nickle word works just as well.

      It is nice to help people build their vocabulary, but we don't want to bore the reader with the use of new words either.

  2. Laurie, I agree with you. As authors, we can increase a reader's vocabulary, even without sending him to a dictionary (not that doing so isn't good). We can use context to help the reader have a general understanding of a word.

    Also, we as authors do a disservice to readers when we make mistakes when writing in blogs, newsletters, and comments. Any time we have errors in our writing, we lose credibility. (hint, hint to our newsletter contributors)

    1. I agree with you, Vivian. I try to check my posts more than twice before I submit them, even doing that an occasional error may crop up, after all writers are human.

  3. Robert, great list! We absolutely need to professional in all our writing.

    About sending readers to the dictionary, while it's a good idea to help increase readers' vocabulary, in today's overly rushed society and the decreasing attention span of readers, I'm not sure if it's a good idea. Although, Vivian's idea of providing a general understanding of the word through the surrounding text is doable.

    Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing

    1. That is true, I was making the point of not using words that would cause readers to visit the dictionary, but to use familiar words in today's rushed society.

      As Nathaniel Hawthorne said, “Easy reading is damn hard writing.” Writers should strive for the easy reading by working harder on their writing.

      I try to work on mine every day so that I can become better writer, but writers are also human and subject to making errors.

  4. I'm sorry, but is this a joke? This reader gives two thumbs down for "how well the edited the manuscript is" and grammar errors.

    1. If you have something constructive to say, most writers would appreciate it rather than just slam a post. How about pointing out what you consider errors,so the writer can improve.

  5. Anonymous, see the comment above "Also, we as authors do a disservice to readers when we make mistakes when writing in blogs, newsletters, and comments. Any time we have errors in our writing, we lose credibility. (hint, hint to our newsletter contributors," which addresses what you said in a nicer way.

    I wonder IF any contributors besides me checks any comments. *sigh*

    1. The contributors can subscribe to the post for followup comments, I clicked on he link that does so since I just found it.

      If people find errors in their opinion, I would appreciate a heads up so I can improve. By no means am I perfect. I am however, trying to get better and improve n my overall writing skill.