Who is your favorite writer? The one you’d most like to sit down with, have a cup of coffee and talk about writing? What would you tell them about the time you read the book you love the most? How old were you? How did it transform you? Why do you love it so passionately?
Really. Think about this. What is the book? Who is the writer? Why is she/it your favorite?
It doesn’t matter if you have several. Just pick one for right now and hold your memories for a moment, because I want to talk about readers. Our readers, yours and mine.
Or rather, your one reader, the one who feels about your work the way you feel about that writer you love.
Naturally, we all want to be mega-super-stars with followings like JK Rowling or Elizabeth Gilbert or whoever you want to name, and I hope for every one of us that kind of success. But even if you become that star, you should always remember that one, single devoted reader.
Why? A few reasons. The first is that books are not judged by a single standard. It’s impossible to point to a book and say, “That is best book ever written and everyone will love it,” because it simply is not true. Certainly, some books have stood the test of time and so might be considered a cut above the rest (looking at you, Jane Austen) but we don’t have the advantage of knowing what future generations will love. We have to write today, now, for the climate we occupy, for the people who are reading now. [Read more…]