Are You My Reader?

01 Jan

If you are, you’re someone who wants to get to know yourself — and the rest of the world — better. You love getting inside the head of other people and figuring them out. You understand the importance of choice and look for ways to increase your understanding of the consequences of your own choices.

And while you want the characters you read about to go through tough times as part of their self-discovery journey, you prefer to read stories with a general feeling of lightness and fun. You don’t want utopias or dystopias; you want real people, even though the situations are fantastic.

You like reading fantasy because you want to escape for a bit from your daily life. You love that you have managed to hold onto your sense of wonder and you read to increase its presence in your life. You love discovering new worlds and new ways of living. That said, you’re a stickler for consistency, however, and get annoyed by new worlds that don’t follow their own rules. Because of that, you really enjoy being surprised by the unintended consequences created by these alternative worlds.

Your favorite characters choose action over passiveness because characters who wallow or who merely react to situations don’t interest you. In fact, privileged protagonists who whine about how much their lives suck make you readers want to throw the book across the room. No?

To you, the story is the most important thing. While you appreciate good writing, you don’t want to be bogged down by heavy language, dense descriptions, or overly-complicated plots. However, you do want to be surprised while you’re reading and feel that although you might be able to predict the end of the book, the journey will take you on an unexpected path (but not a full detour because you don’t usually read stories that twist around like a handful of snakes).

While my supposed genre is young-adult fantasy, I suspect that probably over half of you are adults (and most likely women). Like me, you read coming-of-age stories because you want to relive that moment of self-realization and use the youthful energy found in this style of book to feed your need for wonder.

If my books were movies, they’d be fantasy-based romcoms that leave viewers with a lingering smile and a desire to spend more time with the characters, even if you wouldn’t necessarily want the characters as friends.

If you read authors such as Patricia C. Wrede, Sherwood Smith, and Charles de Lint you’ll also likely enjoy my work. In other words, you don’t read to increase your cultural cachet, to get your pulse racing from heart-stopping action scenes, or to wallow in the pointlessness of life. You want to be entertained. You know that although life can suck at times, by making conscious, caring choices, a (usually) happy – and realistic – ending is always possible.


Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Featured, General Babblery


7 responses to “Are You My Reader?

  1. Erin M. Hartshorn

    January 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    Love this description! It reminds me of when I read John Locke’s description of his ideal reader — not in content so much, of course, as in the depth of how you’ve thought it through. Clearly from my own post, I haven’t thought about it in quite this same way. Maybe that’s because I write all over the map, and I’m too lazy to do it for each thing I write? Not sure.

    Anyway, a very informative post.

  2. Alex

    January 2, 2012 at 6:50 pm

    That’s too funny Erin, because I got the idea directly from Locke’s book. Honestly, it was the only thing that I got out of the book that was really helpful. Worth the money I spent on the book. 😉

  3. Erin M. Hartshorn

    January 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    His book gave me a lot to think about, but I think that sort of analysis is more relevant if you’re planning to actually work at the marketing. His long, infrequent blog posts and market barrages aren’t my style, so I haven’t bothered to put that level of effort into writing out the typical reader for my various works.

    (In retrospect, I do wonder whether the various Tweets I get with little to them except a link, which is also sent to many others, is from people trying to use Locke’s method. I don’t know because I never follow the links; I simply report them as spam.)

    Glad the book provided some good for you!

  4. D. Anthony Brown

    January 4, 2012 at 4:48 am

    I thought I was being unique by writing about my ideal reader in the second person.

    Very thoughtful post. Books, certainly for me, fill a need for wonder and excitement.

  5. Bonnie R. Schutzman

    January 6, 2012 at 2:43 am

    Wow, Alex. Excellent post and insightful as always.

  6. Arlee Bird

    January 16, 2012 at 1:15 am

    It’s an important key to an author’s success to know their readers. And when in doubt, ask. Or at least kind of ask by making the blog reader ask.

    A cat’s memoir?
    Wrote By Rote


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: