publish.me: Don't Forget Readers!
If a person is a writer, I hope they read on a regular basis—across their own category and outside of it. I strongly believe that this is a good way to stay focused as both a writer and a reader.
I remember the experience of falling head over heels in love with books. I was already one of those kids who took home an armload of books from the library every week, but ultimately the catalyst that led to me working in publishing was falling in love with two different books—The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I just didn’t read these books one time, I read them many times over and over. They were my gateway drug to a lifetime of reading. They weren’t just good books in my eyes, they were great. I wanted to spend as much time as possible in those worlds. The reader in me needed to grow up, so that I could eventually work in publishing.
This is my gentle nudge that if you’re a writer, you never forget your own reader experience. That you remember any book you write just isn’t for you, it’s for your future readers. Assuming that if you write it (the book), they’ll find it (the book) is unrealistic. And when a person takes the valuable time of reading your book, the highest level of respect is given if they find a story they can connect with and hopefully want to read again. Or even better, they enjoy your writing so much, they commit to reading all the books you write into the foreseeable future.
Connecting to readers on an emotional note is a gift, one that can take years to fine tune in your role as the writer. This honor shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In today’s climate, it’s natural to want to rush the publishing process. I’ve often heard writers state they only want to get their book “into the world,” despite the fact that there are still additional steps that need to be taken beforehand. This should be a wake up call that not only time is needed, but a patience and willingness to make your book the best it can be is a good thing.
If well-executed, your book could change a reader’s life. I know neither Lewis Carroll nor Norton Juster, will never know how much they changed my own life. But every time I see another author of mine get published, I think of them. The agent I am today is because they made me a lifelong reader.
Dawn Michelle Frederick is the owner & literary agent of Red Sofa Literary, established in 2008. Red Sofa Literary is a celebration of the quirky, eclectic ideas in our publishing community. Dawn’s previous experience reflects a broad knowledge of the book business, with over a decade of experience as a bookseller in the independent, chain, and specialty stores, an editor for a YA publisher, and an associate literary agent at Sebastian Literary Agency. Dawn earned a BS in Human Ecology and a MS in Library & Information Sciences from an ALA-accredited institution. She is also one of the founders of the MN Publishing Tweet Up, which brings writers and publishers together over a monthly happy hour. Red Sofa Literary was voted as one of the Best 101 Websites by Writer’s Digest in 2012 and 2013.