Thursday, December 6, 2018

What Readers Really Want from Authors By Janalyn Voigt

Sought-after with competitive fervor, readers’ email addresses are prized possessions for most authors. We’ll give away our beloved books, stay up late writing guest blog posts, and trade good money for list-building promotions. Anything to coax, bribe, or lure readers into our email lists. Capturing emails affirms us as authors. On a purely practical level, gaining access to reader email addresses allows us to communicate with them.

Ah, but there’s the problem.
We work hard to build our lists, then aren’t quite sure what to say to them. We’ve heard that we should build relationships, but what that entails remains unclear.  Uncertainty leads to guesswork or silence. The next book launch stirs the realization that a disengaged audience won’t buy many books.

It’s possible to solve this.
You may know authors who rely on charisma to reach readers. The rest of us need to work a little harder. Knowing what readers want from you eases the process. That’s not so hard to figure out, thankfully. Eavesdrop in book groups, and you’ll find words like love, hate, exciting, amazing, curious, and even sad flying about. Good stories enliven readers’ emotions and help them escape the doldrums of everyday living while they sail into vivid storyworlds. Readers may talk about well-turned plots, fulsome characters, and vivid description, but those are the means to an end.

Readers read primarily because of the way books make them feel. Small wonder they attach to any author who transports them through emotion.
You may have heard that readers join your email list not because they want your books but because they want you. That can be a daunting thought when you’re something of a private person, like me. Also, there may seem little of you left after all the time you spend writing, editing, and marketing.

It’s not so scary once you realize what readers really want.
They yearn to know what it’s like to write a book, appear at a book signing, hold your newest novel in your hands, endure your cat walking across the keyboard in the middle of a scene, and many more details of your life as a writer. This affords you a degree of privacy and is easier on your precious reserves of energy. You might write about other things on occasion (especially on topics within your books), but always from the perspective of an author. 

Common advice is not to write about yourself or you’ll lose subscribers. This may prove true if your whole focus is on yourself. The topic of your story might be yourself, but it’s possible to make it about your readers as well. Do this by tapping into universal emotions that connect us all.
What do readers really want? Give them the ongoing saga of your life as an author, told in a way that imparts something into their own lives.

Stagecoach to Liberty

Can a desperate young woman trust the handsome Irish stranger who wants to free her from her captors?  
Elsa Meier, a talented young Hessian girl who plays the hurdy-gurdy and dances, signs a contract to entertain miners in the Wild West. Elsa travels to America in the company of Miles and Alicia Peabody, the brother and sister who persuaded her mother to allow her to go. Elsa hopes for freedom and the chance to send money home to help her family. Instead she comes to the attention of a wealthy and unscrupulous man. On a stagecoach traveling into Montana Territory, Elsa conveys her peril to a handsome stranger with an Irish accent.  

Con Walsh, on a quest to find out the truth about himself, stumbles into a dangerous situation involving a frightened young woman in need of rescue. Despite his own pressing troubles, he finds that her safety matters to him more than his own.
Set in Montana during its gold rush -- a time troubled by outlaws, corruption and vigilante violence, Stagecoach to Liberty explores faith, love, and courage in the wild west. This story can stand alone or continue the saga that began with Hills of Nevermore and Cheyenne Sunrise.

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Janalyn Voigt fell in love with literature at an early age when her father read chapters from classics as bedtime stories. When Janalyn grew older, she put herself to sleep with tales "written" in her head.

Today Janalyn is a storyteller who writes in multiple genres. The same elements--romance, mystery, adventure, history, and whimsy--appear in all her novels in proportions dictated by their genre.
Learn more about Janalyn Voigt and the books she writes at
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