By Denise Turney
Book readers need three things when dealing with book writers. Relationships are at the core of each of these three things. As a book writer, if you fail to give book readers these three things, you could fail to gain book sales, disappoint book readers or even lose existing book sales. James Baldwin, J. K. Rowling, John Irvin, Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry are a few authors who understand the importance of two of these three musts.
Book readers want challenging relationships
To grow your career as a new author, you need to get these three things down early. As a new book author, you need to develop characters that make it easy for book readers to feel like they are in real relationships with their fictional characters. You might not love the storyline. But, if you read Lord of the Rings, you probably couldn’t forget Frodo Baggins, Gandalf or Gollum.
Not a Lord of the Rings fan? Think about your favorite novels. Next, think about one or more characters in those novels that you feel deeply connected to, that you care about. How easy was it to put that novel down, turning away from a character who left a deep impression on you?
Focus on character development
Focus on character development; it’s at the heart of what talented authors do. It’s also why talented novelists keep their characters in periods of uncertainty, cliff hangers, conflict and challenge. Even flawed novel characters have at least one trait that you, the book reader, judge as positive or valuable.
Who can forget Dr. Hyde, Mrs. Henry Lafayette Duobse in To Kill a Mockingbird or the money grubbing businessman in Spiral? Bad characters fuel Tyler Perry’s latest television series, shows like The Haves and Have Nots. Without characters who are struggling with darkness books like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Lord of the Rings might not have intrigued millions of readers.
These inner struggles may remind of us hidden parts of ourselves, parts we long to deny. What is certain is that flawed characters demand our attention. After you start to care about a character, it’s hard to not care what happens to that character. Discovering what happens to a character requires that you keep reading, keep turning pages in a book. Even more, building a book readership demands that you give readers the types of relationships with novel characters that readers not only care about, but relationships that readers will feel, almost as if the fictional encounters are real.
Major characters relating to minor characters
In addition to feeling connected to one or more characters in a novel, book readers want to find value in observing, watching or witnessing exchanges that occur between a main character and minor characters in a novel. It’s a fact. There’s an element of voyeurism in fictional story digesting.
Book readers want to watch their favorite novel characters interact with other characters. After all, it’s those relationships that drive the story. Rarely is it the case that a story’s setting works like a character. Fictional stories where this happened include Castaway, On Golden Pond and Wind River.
J. California Cooper, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor are among the novelists who are highly skilled at character interaction. These skilled authors make developing great character interactions look easy.
Third thing book readers love
The third element that book readers need to love a story and a novelist’s work might surprise you. Book readers want to enjoy a rewarding relationship with a novel’s author. An author’s relationship with book readers could come through book signings, book readings, cultural festivals that authors serve as panelists or keynote speakers at.
Direct email, holiday greetings, free new book excerpts and question and answer sessions at the end of speaking engagements or radio interviews are other avenues through which an author’s relationship with book readers could develop. These aren’t personal relationships.
Instead, they are artistic relationships that focus on art that writers create. Rewards of these boo reader relationships include the chance for authors to let book readers know what drives a character or why the author had a character perform a specific act.
If book readers and authors do connect during events like book club meetings, book conferences and book signings, readers could gain a fourth relationship. Readers could meet and start friendships with other book lovers.
Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.