Now don’t get offended – I can’t think of an author who doesn’t LOVE to have readers. Naturally! But…
When I get together online with other writers, it becomes apparent to me that there are two kinds of author. One kind tends to ask, on online forums, ‘What kind of book will readers BUY?’. The idea is to pinpoint what people want to read, and then write it. And then sell it. The literary equivalent of the real estate adage, Genre, Genre, Genre!
And the other kind? They’re the ones who ask ‘I wrote this book…now how can I get people to read it?’ They write because they have something to express – a story, an experience, a perspective – and they want to share it.
It’s pretty clear that Type A is likely to be more successful than Type B. They target their audience. They tailor their content. They write what people like. I’m not taking the high moral ground here – we all like money and we all want readers.
BUT…for me, writing comes from a place where money and readers frankly don’t matter much. It has to. Imprisoned in chains of genre and marketing, the impulse sickens and dies. I write because I want to speak, not because I want to be heard. Although I do, of course, also want to be heard.
So are readers – you – really necessary? For me, YES…and no. Without you, I’d still write books. I’d just feel more depressed about doing it. What do you think?