A Reader to Know

by R.R. Virdi

You readers are the lifeblood of authors, comic creators, and the literary arts overall. Understanding you and your tastes is just as paramount as understanding what we, the writers, yearn for. We want to make art, we want our voices to be heard and, we want to entertain you! It’s a trifecta. It’s not about us. We’re not ego-driven monsters.

Well…not all of us. I can’t speak for everyone. There’s always that one person somewhere, isn’t there?

But, this relationship hinges on understanding what authors can do for you, the readers. How can we make our words and spin our stories in a way that you enjoy them as we do?

This isn’t saying we’re going to change our voices and suddenly start writing what you want and what we don’t. No. But there are sweet spots. It’s true. This is a craft as much as it’s an art and a calling. There’s a science, practice, to this medium. That involves knowing you.

This isn’t aimed at getting down to the specifics of what exactly you want. It’s a piece to make you respond, to consider, and share. It’s about wanting to see how broad and diverse the readership of the world is. Some people like gripping, challenging, complex pieces that toe the lines of morality, personal issues, and push you to new limits of introspection. Some people love things that are reminiscent of the pulps: high action, fun, tropes run abound (not a bad thing if you do it right), hyper competent characters, maybe a degree (quite possibly a large one) of wish-fulfillment.

Everyone is different. Tastes vary and that’s a good thing. It creates an endlessly open market for authors of all walks of life to flourish in. But we need your help, readers. Talk to us, to me. Tell us: what do you crave?

What makes you want to keep turning the pages and invest in us?

Do you love something that may not be an action packed thriller all the time, but might make you lean back, reflect, wonder about your life and the lives of the characters? Do you want something heavier on the action and pacing, no reprieve, wonderful magic, lore, fights? Do you want some semblance of blend?

Since the advent of self-publishing, we’ve seen countless works flood the market. This is wonderful. We’re seeing the resurgence of the pulps across the SFF genres. We’re seeing people playing with things, twisting and making new genres, things never done before. So, what about you?

Where do you fall?

Do you choose by genre? If so, where do you fall? Do obsessively read everything published in those certain genres? Do you have a type you like to read: more action, less complexity, give me a fun, fast, popcorn read now! Or, do you want something that might slow, might twist and turn, explore things you’re uncertain about? Neither is wrong, and so long as you walk out happy, you’re right!

What is it about stories that keep you invested? Are you driven by fun, strong, broken, complex, or wish-fulfillment characters? Do you not care if they come out a little flat and you’re more interested in a gripping plot, a winding shocker of a maze that leaves you surprised by the turns, regardless of the character going through it? Does none of that matter and complete bore could lead you through an endlessly magical world, lush with lore and magic, an epic quest that takes you along for quite the ride? Blends of those? None of those? Are you into hard science and math? Do you need a problem in a hard sci fi, that with enough numbers and clues, you yourself could solve before the story is over? What do you need? What do you want?

Tell us.

Writing is fluid. So is language. And, believe it or not, so are tastes. What are some of yours? Comment below.

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