Let’s face it, when we are talking about writing, the entire point is to engage your readers. If you’re not doing that, then no one will want to read anything you write. However, engaging should begin long before they even open the book. let me explain.
Even if your writing is fantastic, letter perfect, compelling and brilliant, your readers won’t know unless something draws their attention to your work. A lot of variables, marketing strategies, logistical issues and luck goes into getting your book into a reader’s hands. I won’t go into the Marketing aspects, but I will explore the other variables. Let’s begin, shall we?
One of the most critical pieces of the puzzle is your cover. A good cover can make your a success, while a bad one can kill your sales. No matter how good the writing, the cover will play a role in your sales, no matter how good the writing is. I know they say “never judge a book by it’s cover,” but let’s face it. We’ve all done it. A boring cover will not attract the eye. If it fails to engage your reader, they won’t buy it. Unless you are Stephen King or J.K. Rowling, people won’t buy your book just on your name alone. They will need more to convince them to take a shot and buy your book.
Some people subscribe to the theory that less is more when it comes to covers. While I agree, to an extent, I also believe that your cover should be a snapshot…a brief glimpse…of the story inside the book. Granted, you don’t want your cover to be too busy, but too plain is just as bad. Bright colors alone won’t do the trick. Give your reader a taste of what they can expect to see inside the cover. It’s like a menu at a restaurant. You look at these tantalizing pictures of this wonderful looking food and it makes you salivate and want a taste of it for yourself. That’s appealing to their senses. Books are no different. Engage their senses and make them want that taste.
Another great way to engage your potential reader is the title of your work. A bad title can chase away your readers faster than a spark igniting gasoline. For example, how seriously do you think that people would have taken “Star Wars” if George Lucas had decided to call it something like…hmm…I dunno….how about “Space Battles of the Lost Frontier?” Sounds like a cheesy late-nite movie, doesn’t it? It would also change your initial perception of the movie. Certain titles elicit different reactions. Which sounds scarier to you; “Jaws” or “Sharknado?” See my point?
In today’s world of I-pods, Kindles, smart phones, and high-speed wifi being practically everywhere, we need to step up our game. As authors, we have the opportunity to engage our readers across a wide spectrum of media. The more we find ways to involve multiple mediums, the greater we will engage our audiences in ways never before conceived by those who came before us.
It’s a new day for us. The opportunities to engage are limitless. Be creative, be unique and above all…be engaging. We have the unprecedented ability, as authors, to get nearly instantaneous feedback from our readers. When we find ways to unite the written media with other modern media, we will not only be breaking new ground….we well be blazing the trail for the next generation of authors who will come after us.
Not since the invention of the Gutenberg printing press have we had such and opportunity for a fundamental change in how we reach our readers. We now have the capacity to go from finished novel to the hands of the readers at our fingertips. What once took months or even years can now be done in minutes. It’s up to us to find a way to make the most if it. Push the envelope. Engage your readers in new ways. Let them not only be the customer, but an integral part of the process. After all, we couldn’t do it without them.
Engage, include and share the journey with your readers. The Digital Age is here. We can either embrace it or be left behind by it. It’s up to us. I, for one, plan to meet it head-on and try to find ways to include it at every level. That’s how we will continue to engage the next generation.
Now, more than ever, writing is a journey. Our readers have always been part of that. Now, they can become a much larger piece of the puzzle. Share the journey and be ready to enjoy the benefits. Reading isn’t dead. Far from it. It’s merely evolving. We can choose to do nothing or we can evolve with it. Take the state of New Jersey, for example. They no longer have physical libraries. Does that mean that no one in New Jersey reads? No. In fact, with digital libraries, they have a greater selection of books at their finger tips than they have ever had before. Are you ready to join the evolution of the printed medium? I know I am. I look forward to seeing you on the journey. It’s up to us if we are travelers on this journey or if we become a piece of the scenery. Don’t let this revolution leave you behind.
If you want, find me on Facebook, shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment here on this blog. When we share our ideas, we all learn. I look forward to hearing from you. I’ve said it before and I will so, again. I don’t know a single person who owns only one book or one particular author. There is plenty of room for all of our stories on this journey. I look forward to taking it with you.
Enjoy the journey.