How to Please Your Readers
After being a reviewer for several years, writing takes on a different tone for me. I know what it’s like to get books from authors you’ve never heard of, whose blurbs you may or may not have read, and have a blind go at a story to which you’re not yet connected.
The reviewer is your most objective reader. So let’s look at the pieces of the reader experience, from the perspective of a reviewer.
PRESS KIT – A press kit for a book is great. It might have blurbs, excerpts, genre expectations, an author bio, word count, and even some early reviews. This is all well and good for a reviewer, but I used to avoid press kits like the plague. As a reviewer, I wanted to be an unbiased reader. So I skipped the press kit and went straight for the book.
Here’s what I often found.
There was important information in the blurb / back cover copy that was not effectively communicated in the book. Sometimes, these things were important to the way I felt about the plot. Sometimes, there would even be pieces of the blurb that contradicted what I read in the book.
What I learned:
Write your blurb as close to the book as you can, even if it’s just the basic sketch that your editor eventually changes. Try to make it as honest to the book as possible, and don’t put information in the blurb that wasn’t in the book.
MANUSCRIPT – As a reader, I don’t read notes, acknowledgements, or prefaces. I will occasionally also skip prologues, because I often feel they’re just info dumps. Don’t put anything plot-critical in there, either. That’s all information you can’t guarantee will be read.
Mostly, I notice that acknowledgments are skipped in novellas. But I’ve found several of them that interested me. If you have a specific research partner, you want to thank your critique partners, etc. Put that in your acknowledgments! If I really like your book, I want to know how you did it. It’ll interest me to read about your process. Let me in on that.
WEBSITE – After I read your book, whether I like it or not, I’m probably going to check out your website. So make sure it doesn’t suck. A couple of times, I read some marginally good books and went to author websites, only to be so disappointed with the level of professionalism, which reflects on my desire to read their books again. If you don’t take yourself seriously enough to run a good website, I probably won’t take you seriously enough to read your next book.
In general, when you finish your book and are ready to publish, take a look at your “whole package” from the perspective of your future readers. Are you doing all you can do to hook them back into your next book?
If you’re not, you should.
Speaking of next books, mine is out now. It’s called Misbegotten Gaines and it’s part of the Decadent Western Escapes series set in Freewill, Wyoming. Kyle is a chef, Jamie a cowgirl. They’re like oil and water at first. If you like Romance So Good You Can Taste It, you’ll love this book.
Also, I have a Cowboys & Corsets & Cocktails release party going on right now. Everyone who comments on or tweets about the books or the release party will be entered to win an e-reader and a grand prize package of my favorite western romances, or my favorite Steampunk romances.
Stop by my blog or my Twitter feed to win.
Thanks for having me!
By Camryn Rhys
Releasing March 21, 2012 from Decadent Publishing as part of the Western Escapes Line set in Freewill, Wyoming – Book Three in the line
Review ARCs available upon request
Kyle Harris lands a job as the new chef at the Misbegotten Gaines Ranch just in time for the launch of their new Singles’ Trail Ride. When his new boss, the alluring Jamie Gaines, mistakenly believes him to be married, he goes along with the ruse to keep his job. But things start to heat up between them and Kyle has to choose between losing his job and letting Jamie get away.
Kyle pretends to be married to keep a job around Jamie Gaines, but when his very single ex-wife shows up on the ranch, things may heat up more than he can handle…
When a guy says he’s gonna work on a dude ranch, he kinda expects it to be run by…well, dudes. Instead, the only two people Kyle Harris could see when he pulled up to the Misbegotten Gaines Dude Ranch were women. And they were hot with a capital H-O-T.
Hot enough that it got a little toastier in his car, and in his formerly roomy boxers under his jeans. Kyle had big plans for spending long days at his new job out on the dusty trail with men he could consider his brothers. Guys always looked tight in those John Wayne movies his mom used to watch. He had a feeling the wild would do that to a guy.
But being in the Wyoming wilderness with two gorgeous women would not lead to any camaraderie among the men. Nor would it lead to silent nights around the campfire eating beans from a can and drinking coffee from a tin cup while the coyotes yowled against the midnight sky.
Okay, so maybe he paid a little more attention during those movies than he’d like to admit. But still. The kind of backside(s) he could see promised a lot of things, and none of them peaceful. Maybe he wouldn’t have to extend his sex hiatus after all.
Camryn Rhys grew up on the border of Canada and the US, and still hasn’t decided which country to call home. She splits her time between the Alberta and Montana Rocky Mountains, with friends and family in both beautiful locations. After running her own restaurant for several years and acquiring advanced degrees in writing, foodie romance seemed the only logical option. When she’s not watching the Food Network, she’s reading a romance novel, or if absolutely necessary, working as a consultant. Someone has to put really excellent food on the table.