What do authors want readers to know?

The one thing I have learned as I have gotten to know several authors is that I still don’t have a clue what they go through. Zipping through their books within a couple of days while enjoying them immensely makes writing a book look so easy. They just put some words on a page and hit publish, right?

The best writers, like the best athletes, make things look easy. Take Michael Phelps for example. After watching him, don’t you feel as though you could easily swim a 200-meter freestyle with no problem? Okay, maybe not. But, like athletes, writing takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears. And, since I am not a writer, I thought it would be fun to ask several authors one question: What is one thing you wish readers knew about the writing world?

Below are some of the responses I received (paraphrased a little to fit the format of the post and to keep the responses anonymous):

  • Being a writer is an awesome occupation, full of many and great rewards. It’s not easy, sure. But it’s easier than some jobs. So, I guess I think it’s not the readers’ job to understand the writing life or world. Readers get to read. Just as people who go to concerts don’t need to know what it’s like to be in a band or people going to museums don’t need to know how the artists live.That said, I guess I’d want my readers to know how much they mean to me. How I wait for their reactions and drink them up. Like hearing an answer to a question you’ve asked to an empty room for years.
  • I wish readers realized how little money writers make, especially early on. Some writers never make a ton of money and some don’t receive a royalty check for almost six months to a year after their book has been published. Even with that we do a lot of giveaways and are often in the financial hole for years.
  • I wish readers could relate to all the time and effort it takes to create a satisfying manuscript from concept, to draft, to edited finished product. If they did, perhaps they’d see more value in an author’s work and be willing to pay for a book at least as much as they do for most greeting cards or a cup of coffee at Starbucks. It’s so disheartening when readers complain about the price of a quality book when it’s more than $0.99, or not simply free.
  • How much we love hearing from them. And how much we appreciate reviews, even if they don’t love the book.
  • That some authors are juggling a full-time job, family, friends, pets, and sleep. So, if you don’t see them on social media as much as you’d like, please know they’re working hard at writing their next fab-o book.
  • Anyone can leave a review about a book they’ve enjoyed. It means SO much to us as writers. We spend so much time bringing that little seed of an idea to a full-length novel, then take it through the editing and publishing process. It’s not quick. Then, our readers consume all that work in just a short time. Their feedback is what keeps us motivated and inspired. We LOVE our readers!
  • We are often limited on word count, cover art, and pricing by our publishers. For my self-pubbed books, I rely heavily on reader input, but once I sell a book to a publisher, it’s their baby. They get final say on everything.
  • How much it means to writers when they take the time to review a book, or mention it on social media, or tell their friends about it.  Writing can be very lonely and knowing that something I’ve written has somehow touched a reader means more than I can say.
  • Sometimes, the best thing an author can do for a book she’s writing is to walk away from it and get perspective. I’d rather deliver the best book than the timeliest book.

So, readers, there you have it. A few things that you may not have realized before that authors might struggle with and what you can do to help them out and encourage them as they continue to write those fabulous books that entertain us all. Readers, what has been the most eye-opening thing you have learned from an author about writing a book?

9 thoughts on “What do authors want readers to know?

  1. Great post… Loved all the wonderful responses. Ditto!

    My add… Remember I’m a human and I have feelings. I love to write. I’d write even if no one ever read what I wrote. As a writer, though, I get to share my feelings with the world. Nothing–other than the family stuff–makes me smile as much as hearing from a happy reader. Not even big sales. When I log on in the morning…if I see a new review, I read it before I check my sales. And yes, I read EVERY ONE of them. I simply love hearing my readers’ thoughts–even the not so happy ones–that’s how I grow.

    So…keep them coming. Just remember to be kind and constructive in your appraisal. 🙂

  2. Great post Amy. Sadly, I know a lot about these things that these authors had pointed out. Writing a book is not easy and it takes up a lot of time. Plus, selling a book is not easy and even if you did, it doesn’t mean you’ll be making a whole lot of money off of it either. Their royalties get cut a whole bunch and many of the time they don’t even get them back as quickly as they would like. And for many self-pubs they have to take out money from their own pockets to get the cover and marketing help to promote their books so, authors can be both broke and famous (in a sense to us readers).

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