Writing Something Someone Wants to Read

Sure, you can write. Sure, you can write well. Sure, You may like it. The critics liked it, your schoolmates liked it, your Significant Other liked it, Your parents liked it, and your cat liked it so much he used it as a litterbox. Seems like a safe assumption to say that when you release it to the public, they should like it too, right?

Wrong! As logical as this assumption may seem, it’s dead wrong. Your critics, your schoolmate, your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse, your parents, and your cat are not your audience. You forget, there are over eight trillion people on this planet. Interviewing 20 of them doesn’t prepare you for the wild west of public opinion.

There are a million things that could go wrong in a million and one different ways. There will be many, many people out there who will disagree with the views portrayed in your book, dislike the genre, or even just want to go play video games instead. Some people just aren’t book people, and there are a ton of other people that just don’t have a love for the kind of book you’re writing.

In that respect, publishing is an experiment. It’s dipping your feet in the cold waters of cultural criticism. No one can predict what will happen. Sometimes, genius is only recognized after its time, sometimes before, and rarely during. You’ve heard me say before: the hard truth is that there are literally millions of individual books out there that are not bestsellers. However, you still want to write something someone wants to read, right?

Hey, I’ve been there. Being concerned about impressing your readers is a good thing, but keep this in mind: the most important critic of all is yourself. Your first critic is the writer, and, if you’re honest, they can also be the best critic. Never, ever send out work that you yourself are not satisfied with. I don’t care if everyone around you loves it. If anything, please yourself. Always make sure your work is satisfactory in your opinion first and foremost.

There is but one piece of advice I can offer you on this topic: learn from the best. Read the bestsellers. Find out what people want to read, then take your cues from the best. This is the only reliable, sure-fire way to concoct something that people want to read. Other attempts are an experiment.

However, there is one hyper-super-ultra-important thing that I should mention. For an example, I appeal to the parable of the old man, the son and the donkey by Aesop. You probably know this, but the meaning is clear: never try to please everyone.

It’s sad, because there are so many people out there who are so desperate for attention that they will change their convictions, beliefs and opinions in order to gain popularity. If you ever become a big-screen actor, you will know what I’m talking about. Some ideas offend some people, and they just so happen to come into your story as a matter of conviction or coincidence. Either way, you will feel it in your customer reviews.

Do NOT be one of those people. Stick by your guns. Don’t give up your beliefs for the favor of the crowd. It’s fickle and not worth it. Don’t sell your soul for temporary popularity. If you are a firm believer in this or that and it manifests in your stories, don’t let that change! In today’s age, there are many controversial topics that will offend somebody.

But you can’t help that. People will be offended. Haters gonna hate. You can’t stop them, and nor can you please everybody. Don’t try, but aim for a specific niche to fill. Try to capture all the fishes in one pond, so to speak. Of course, if you plan on making a bestsellers, you probably are going to have to cut your beliefs to match the will of the crowd. But then, you’re no better than a hireling. Don’t be a hireling. Be an individual with a dream and a pen.

Bottom line: There are crowd-pleasers, and then there are the poets. The hot gig nowadays isn’t Shakespeare, it’s the Wingfeather Saga or whatever else. Shakespeare was a great poet, but almost no one wants to read him. At least, the populace doesn’t. If you please the crowd, you do so by accident. Never compromise on your principles to gain popularity, and impress yourself before you set your eyes on pleasing the crowd.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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