As an author, I have a certain reader in mind as I write my stories. It’s gotten a little easier to nail down my demographic over time. Feedback and reviews have come in on Amazon, email, and through my website. Of course, there’s no pleasing everyone.
As I was falling asleep last night, I had a few thoughts. I wish I’d written them down–they were rather brilliant. Those thoughts are gone now, though. But the idea was the pleasing of readers. My target audience is roughly middle aged women who hand off the books to their mothers, so I understand some important things:
* For the most part, I must maintain a low level of profanity throughout.
* The sex has to be tasteful, meaningful, and a long time coming for my characters.
* I need characters whose lives are relatable to all generations.
* My humor has to be funny, and not too crass.
* No politics.
* There should be a satisfying ending.
Some of these things are true for most commercial fiction. Some like a higher heat level, no matter their age, and some don’t mind profanity, but this is who I’ve realized my readers to be generally.
I’ve had a review that called my book a “good clean Christian read.” It’s not really that, because it’s not a faith-based book, and it’s not squeaky. I’ve had a few reviews that said my sex scenes were graphic. Uh, no, not graphic to most. But to those few, clearly they were discomfitting. I can’t please the outliers. I can’t make it all perfect for everyone or anyone, for that matter. I write within a certain set of parameters, kind of like Goldilocks’ porridge: not too hot, not too cold. Hopefully, somewhere near just right. Same with the chair and the bed. The characters, the humor, and all the rest. Someplace near the middle to keep readers coming back.
Keep in mind, characters do things the author doesn’t intend that makes them authentic. Some characters curse because it’s their nature. Some are nasty and we hate them, and others behave, dress, and speak in ways that go beyond what readers are comfortable with. It’s what often makes good fiction. Some cheat and lie and kill.
Please read the back covers before buying books. If you don’t want to read about a cheating and betrayal, it’s usually there on the book’s description. We often have events and tragedies occur in our own lives that cause us to stay away from certain stories because they are too painful to relive through fiction. That’s totally understandable. But the events and characters’ actions in a book don’t mean it’s a bad book. I’ve had reviews that were low because the main character cheated in the past, and the reader had been burned similarly.
So, judge a book by its back cover, will you? Read about it first, then decide if it sounds like your kind of story. Then, leave an honest review for that author. Unless you can’t be honest, or unbiased for some reason. Authors are people who read what you write. We work hard at putting our best out to readers. And we appreciate your feedback.
Thanks to all the readers!!