Saturday, June 3, 2017

10 Ways to Make Readers Happy by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #amwriting #MFRWauthor

10 Ways to Make Readers Happy by Kayelle Allen @kayelleallen #amwriting #MFRWauthor
I host 350+ authors every year on my Romance Lives Forever blog. I'm the founder of Marketing for Romance Writers. Authors talk to me. I hear a lot of stories about readers who are unhappy and about ones who are ecstatic. There are some things in common. Here are ten of the best ways to make readers happy. Some are from personal experience, many from other writers.
  1. Write well. If you don't do this, it doesn't matter what else you do. Triple check your spelling. Punctuate properly. Readers today have been exposed to a wide variety of writing due to the internet and have learned to be discerning. A poorly written, misspelled book will be passed over in short order. For blog posts, spellcheck and/or use a site like Grammarly or SmartEdit. For books, hire an editor.
  2. Use proper formatting. Kindle, Nook, Smashwords, Lulu, CreateSpace, etc. each has its own requirements for formatting. Follow them to the letter. Whatever the requirements say should be done -- do it. These services know what the programs will do and what it takes to make them work best. Follow their advice. A hard to read book gathers no interest.
  3. Along those same lines, when posting quotes to the web, in email, on Yahoo Groups, and so on, never use "curly" or "smart" quotes (the type that curl toward words on the left, and away on the right). Many programs, blogs, and sites cannot read the code that word processing programs use for these, so they substitute code to try to make sense of what they see. Instead of your quoted text appearing as: "I didn't do it." The reader sees:  tm&*I didn#@*$t do it.98cm&  Imagine an entire page of this. Trust me, this does not make reaaders happy. Go into the autocorrect features of your word processing program and turn off these types of quotes (and look at all the tabs -- they are in more than one place), then, using the Replace command on your editing toolbar, replace all " to ", and ' to '. It will look no different to you in the replace command dialog box, but the computer will change all the codes and the formatting on the other end will come out right. Your readers will thank you.
  4. Use only a simple serif or non-serif font (like Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri.). Readers who do not have a special font loaded on their computers will see plain text (such as Courier) because their machines will substitute the fancy font for a default one.
  5. Provide good content. If you have interesting information to share with your readers, they will come to you. Whether you use blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or other services, content is the number one reason people will follow you. "Getting your name out there" is a byword. Everyone wants to know how to do it. How do you gain friends on Facebook and so on? How do you get people to read your book? The answer is to give them solid content, well written.
  6. When promoting your book, provide a "set up" -- a few lines so people know what the scene or excerpt they are about to read is about. Help them understand the characters, so they don't feel they walked in during the middle of a conversation.
  7. Share your work on more than your website and your blog. Yahoo groups, Facebook, other authors' blogs, Goodreads, and other places are good sites to share your material with readers.
  8. Use Twitter to generate interest in your books by sharing tidbits and snips of dialog or scenes. Believe it or not, there are Twitter accounts that post entire stories, each less than 140 characters long. Try delivering your hero or heroine's lines in successive tweets. Not all of them, mind you -- just a few to create curiosity.
  9. Share promos with other authors. If you and another author have similar books (say vampire romances) hold a contest together. You promote your book and hers to your readers, and vice versa. You will both gain. I've done this with friends over the years and gained not only readers, but best friends who will promo with me at the drop of a hat. You can't beat that.
  10. Tell people you meet that you're an author. Carry your business cards or bookmarks. When I'm at a bookstore, or looking at books at the grocery store, I invariably start talking to the woman who's standing next to me. Especially when she picks up a book I already own, or am about to buy. Or she's buying an author I've never heard of before. I ask questions. Somehow it always leads to sharing my own story. I hand over my card. I once got an email from someone who said she'd met me in a doctor's office several years before, and wanted to let me know she'd bought one of my books and loved it. Made my day.

If your goal is to make readers happy, show them you are a wellspring of stories to whom they can go. If you can meet that need and do the things above, you are well on your way.
Kayelle Allen is a best-selling American author. Her unstoppable heroes and heroines include contemporary every day folk, role-playing immortal gamers, futuristic covert agents, and warriors who purr.
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