“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”
― Oscar Wilde
Back covers and front covers of books are a lot like movie trailers. They show you the best bits and get you to engage with the story.
This leads to you buying the book and reading it. The disconnect that so often happens is between what the book promises and what it delivers. If I’m reading literature, like, proper literature, I expect it to be a trudge. You know that this book is going to pay off somewhere – you just have to let it roll out and keep reading. The really good literary novels will drag you down to your doom without you even realising you are completely lost in the story.
When I read non-fiction I expect a good story too – no non-fiction book is complete without anecdotes, case-studies or just fascinating facts on the topic being discussed. Bill Bryson is a master of this. All of his books are just chock full of stuff that makes you think.
Then, there is my preferred reading material. The quick, dirty, no-holds barred pulp novel.It can be post-apocalyptic, sci-fi, hard SF, comedy, thriller, horror, supernatural, alternative history, speculative fiction or even an anthology of short stories.
If I could give advice to every pulp-genre writer, I would say – “Do not be ashamed of what you are writing. John Saul got his start writing porno-novels.”
This love of what you write is important – it shows through in your stories. When I truly love a book I am writing, it comes through in the story. The dialogue pops, the scenes sparkle and the characters swell with life. Too often though, I find myself reading action books with no action in them. Zombie books with flat, dull, repetitive characters and storylines. Horror novels that just aren’t scary. It’s not about blood and gore, it’s about something deeply unsettling.
The unknown that reaches out caresses the back of your neck. Even if it is a spider’s web – the thought that a spider might be dropping down the collar of your shirt right now – is enough to make some people lose their shit.
Give me something that reaches out from the very first page and grabs me by the balls. I need to read a story that says, “If you put this book down, shit will get real.”
Pacing is the key here – keep the action moving, mix it with character development. Let your characters develop through their actions (make them active in the story).
It’s a cruel world you are sending your book-baby out into. Though frankly, no one gives a shit.
We don’t know you, we are just here for the feels. Give us a book that we can rave about to our friends. One that we feel compelled to write a review about. Give us a book that makes us want to buy the sequel and the rest of the series.
– Write books with good pacing and character development that occurs with the action.
– Write the best of your chosen genre. If it is horror – make us afraid to keep reading and equally afraid to stop. If it is romance – make us fall in love with your characters.