Carla Acheson

Historical Fiction Author

It’s a funny thing being an author.

When you have your own book out there for people to read it’s easy to somehow forget that you were, or are, a reader too.

So when you’re catapulted to the other side of the fence, it’s a good idea to think a bit deeper.

Here’s a list of some interesting perspectives, and it’s eye-opening, because in many cases not having any idea at all what your readers want from you is going to impact your sales dramatically.

1. Never assume every crime fiction reader is going to love your great crime novel. 

In a big wide world where tastes in literature vary considerably, it’s hard to pin down your precise reader, especially when many readers are a bit of a ‘crossover’.

Some might love crime fiction, but they don’t actually like gory forensic details, preferring the overall arc to lean towards the side of romance, or, they may like sweeping sagas – but only the ones that are set within a certain era.

To that end, you may write a really good crime fiction book but discover that it isn’t to everyone’s taste.

And that’s okay! Because remember, there is a reader for every writer and you will never (nor should you) try to please everyone!

But when you get round to categorising your self-published book on Amazon, see if there is a category that better defines your crime novel.

So rather than place it in CRIME where it competes with thousands of others, place it in the Crime/Romance category and you’ll be more likely to attract the right reader. 

Also make it well understood in your description if there is romance in the story, so that readers can have a better idea if it’s their cup of tea before purchasing the title.

2. Think about how you want your reader to feel.

Knowing this will help you target and bring in the right audience.

A complete story has a few highs and lows, it should take the reader on a journey. YOU are ultimately in charge of how you want YOUR reader to feel.

And you want your readers emotions to be on target too, because let’s face it, it’s taken a hell of a lot of effort to get them to this point.. the very moment that they’ve opened your book and begun reading. 

If your reader is getting in to the flow, he or she will be feeling all manner of emotions so it’s important that you’re aware of this and that you understand it. 

So how do you control this aspect of manipulation?

Stay true to your theme.

Don’t veer off the path from your intended psychological thriller to a story that is mostly just about a person who is suspicious about dating someone.

At the same point you must connect your reader to your character.

If your story is about a woman struggling to overcome some difficult obstacles in her life, your reader will want to feel connected to the character, so you’ll have to make her likeable or at least understandable.

If you cannot achieve those two things, your reader will simply not feel anything (except maybe dissatisfaction) and they’ll not give a hoot about the character’s obstacles or outcome.

3. You don’t have to over-do it to get your reader’s attention.

I did a lot of thinking about this concept. I tried to place myself in the reader’s mind and found that what I was actually looking for wasn’t all that complicated. It didn’t have to be mind-blowing action all the time.

It really all boiled down to this:

I wanted a good, entertaining story that made me feel something.

If I felt nothing at all whilst reading then the book had no value to me. I was also happy to cry (if that makes any sense) and if that actually occurred… I knew the book held some magical properties.

When you write your book you are sending some powerful and emotional vibes through people’s minds. This can be subtle. You don’t need falling tower blocks or constant explosions to constantly touch your reader’s pulse. 

A simple phone call to your character with a few words spoken at the other end can set off a real emotional blast through your pages. 

4. Understand that it’s all a gamble.

From cover to cover your book won’t appeal to everyone. It’s a gamble you take as an author. You’re looking to entertain a reader, this includes making them happy/sad/shocked/tearful/angry.. etc, and so your best readers will most certainly get it, but sadly not all of them will.

But take that gamble anyway.

It’s definitely worth a dozen good reviews to get one that says ‘bleh.’ (And yes. sometimes people do  provide that kind of nonsensical feedback. )

5. Acknowledge that there is NO perfect reader.

Well okay, maybe you can have just ONE.

That would be your superfan. The ONE person who loves everything you write no matter what it is, (excluding your mother.)

Aside from that you will receive varying degrees of likeness and love-ness from your readers. One reader might love a certain character and another might hate them. Two readers may love two different scenes in your story. 

Suffice to say, readers can be as complicated as the characters in our stories, and that really is the beauty of it.



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