The reader

04 Apr

Readers. Every writer wants them and we all have our own tastes and likes when it comes to what we read. Like most writers I am a voracious reader. I just counted and I have 38 books on my TBR pile – everything from YA , romance, fiction and non-fiction. Yikes. I tell myself that I won’t purchase another book until I’ve read at least half of those books . . and that falls completely by the wayside when I walk into a bookstore or read a good review.

I took a workshop where the presenter informed us that women tend to read decision based plots and men like time-clock plots. (Decision – conflict resolution depends on a decision by the characters. Time-clock – conflict resolution operates under a timeline). A lot of romance books fall under the decision based category, while a lot of thrillers hit the ticking clock list. The presenter mentioned this as one of the things to keep in mind when we are writing. What is our target audience?

Frankly I hadn’t thought of it like that. I write the stories I love. And I love both romance and thrillers. And darn near everything else.

My local bookstore owner said that she has a lot more men reading paranormal romances now that she has moved some of them to the fantasy section. And the YA section is right in front as you walk in because it is so popular with both young adults and older ones.

Is it a label that draws a reader? YA? Chick Lit? Romance?

I was in Subway last week and I noticed a gentleman sitting by himself. He was burly, wore a baseball hat and a t-shirt and had a long, scruffy biker’s beard. It’s terribly judgmental of me, but I would have steered clear of him if I saw him by myself at night. I couldn’t see the title of the book he was reading – and believe me I tried – but I could clearly see the buff heroine with the long sword. Urban fantasy with a strong kick-ass heroine.

Never in a million years would I have paired that man with that book.

It made me smile for the rest of the day. I’m smiling now just remembering it. I hope I have a reader like that when I am published. He could not put the book down. I’m positive he will buy the next book by that author. Whether it’s a label, the cover or where the book was placed in the store – it certainly had him hooked.

Do you tend to buy books in certain genres? Do bookstore displays catch your attention? Do you have an audience in mind as you write?


Posted by on April 4, 2012 in Idaho


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13 responses to “The reader

  1. Liz Fredericks

    April 4, 2012 at 5:48 AM

    I’m with you. Fantasy, reality, romance, mystery – as long as the plot is good and the characterization strong I will enjoy it. Compared to what we hear is important in craft (e.g., no head hopping, no long descriptions, etc), I’m quite tolerant and willing to give a writer time to pull me into a story. The burly guy sounds like a fascinating character. I wonder if we’ll see him crop up in one of your stories?

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 4, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      I’m the same way – I don’t need a first line hook to make me want to read a book. If I like the cover and the back blurb, I’ll let the writer take me along on their journey.
      I’m not sure if the burly guy will make it but I just love it when macho men read romance – I’ve got that covered in my current WIP ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Peggy Staggs

    April 4, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    I too, love just about everything. I love fast paced reads as well as the leisurely ones. As to how I chose a book. I listen to people who read that author, one of my new favorite authors Brad Meltzer, has a TV show I love. Funny thing about Brad, my husband and I are both reading one of his books. If I don’t see a book by a favorite author–that I haven’t read–I go first with color (if it’s sparkly all the better) then by title. Love titles.

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 4, 2012 at 8:54 AM

      My girls and I read Fancy Nancy – the covers are sooo pretty and sparkly. I really wish they’d add a bit of sparkle to adult books ๐Ÿ™‚ And yes a good title will hook me time and time again!

  3. Janis McCurry

    April 4, 2012 at 8:47 AM

    I tend to go on trends. I’ll buy several paranormals, then switch to Regency, then maybe other period historicals. Just depends on my mood.

  4. Meredith Allen Conner

    April 4, 2012 at 9:04 AM

    I think that is why I have so many books on my TBR pile. I buys books depending on my mood and then when I finally get around to reading them I usually have an assortment to choose from – again based on my mood. I have 5 historical romances right now, six YAs, seven urban fantasies, four paranormal romances, one women’s fiction, three mysteries, four non-fictions, three fiction and one essay. Then there are a few I’m not certain how to classify, but look really good.

  5. johannaharness

    April 4, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    I read a lot in the genre I write (YA and MG), but I also love mysteries and thrillers. I enjoy educational books too—readable discussions of history, art, science, math. Local histories pull me in. I buy craft books too, whether the craft is writing or knitting or paper-folding. Oh and I do also read picture books and especially appreciate the laugh-out-loud funny ones: Gerald & Piggy, Monsters Eat Whiny Children, Hamster & Cheese. My kids have introduced me to some wonderful graphic novels too. New doesn’t always replace old though. I love to reread. My shelves are full of classics and I return to them like old friends. Ooh–and poetry. I love poetry.

    Okay, so I read just about everything–and whatever I’m reading at the moment is my favorite. My absolute favorite. Until I start something else.

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 5, 2012 at 8:02 AM

      We should compare bookshelves some day. I have all my Trixie Belden books from when I was much, much younger. I reread too. All the time.

  6. Mary Vine

    April 4, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I tend to write what I like to read the best, romantic mysteries. But then one of mine is a historical because I like a particular ghost town. Sometimes, when I’m shopping, a cover attracts me, but I usually buy a familiar authors book-contemporary, historical, and sometimes paranormal. Yet, I recently read a John Grisham book. Thanks!

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 5, 2012 at 8:04 AM

      I just bought a book “Gods Without Men” by an author I’ve never heard of, but oh my gosh was the write up about it in B&N fabulous! Plus that title is rather catchy!

  7. Lynn Mapp

    April 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM

    I like stories that have the power to make me laugh. I’ll take tears as well, but I cry enough. I’d rather laugh.

    • Meredith Allen Conner

      April 5, 2012 at 8:05 AM

      I hear you Lynn. It seems to me that there are a lot of rather tragic books out there – especially with YA these days. When I want to read and get lost in another world I would much rather read something that isn’t going to take a box of kleenex to get through!

  8. marsharwest

    April 5, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Well, ladies, I find it interesting a couple of you said you’re willing to let the author pull you in somewhat liesurely, rather than needing all the time to have that big bang in the first paragraph or first line. I’m that way, too. “Literary” authors still do that and many of them sell tons of books. What is it about our romance genre that requires us to show the story at the speed of sound?

    I mostly read RS, some paranormal, some cozies, and women’s fiction. I look for author name first to be supportive of folks I know or have heard of. Then I check the back cover blurb. Title not so much, nor is the front cover very important.

    Are all your TBRs sitting on a shelf someplace or in your Nook or Kindle? Some of you have really high piles! Thanks for another though-provoking post.


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