Ashton Rice

You Wrote a Book – So What?

By Ashton Rice

Writing is like an onion. There are many layers to creating a work that will be well received by a target audience. Assuming that the skill and craft are near perfect, any writer should be good to go, right? Well, being a good writer doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience will care. A writer won’t find much of a readership if the target audience is non-existent and/or uninterested. Books that fly off of the shelf create characters and worlds that people connect to. Timeless movies are usually ones that involve some sort of emotional dilemma, or an evolving conflict throughout. So, how does a good writer get an audience to care?

The Secret Sauce:

The first and best ingredient to any great work is emotion. This may seem cliché, but a good story with no heart is no story at all. This is because humans have evolved to respond to emotion. A stronger understanding of emotions always leaves a positive mark on humanity and your readers. If you want people to never put a book down, dig deep into the heart and soul. No matter what you’re writing, always give your characters heart. This is what makes people believe in works of fiction.

For example, Stephen King’s It isn’t just scary, it forces the readers to experience trauma through the eyes of children. This is something that is uncomfortable for most, but that alone is the genius. Forcing out emotions that are difficult to cope with is engaging. If the book is written beautifully and only shows off fancy syntax and structure, it won’t be read cover to cover. Engagement in emotion will make any writer’s book relevant to a world that wants to feel more than anything. A sturdy plot is also necessary for a book that tells a story, but that’s another conversation. Just make sure that there is a conflict that is resolved through change by the end of the story, and it will usually work out.

This Applies to Non-Fiction Writers too:

For those writing more fact-based media, know that the same principles apply to you. Nobody cares about a hurricane without caring about the people who may have been hurt or killed by one. Connect statistical data with emotion and humanity when possible. If it is impossible because of the nature of the work, then at the very least appeal to a cause the academic community can relate to. When you write a book on writing, explain why writing is important, how it has helped shaped modern society. Books written about sports, at the very least mention the great culture and industry that has blossomed because of their growing popularity.

Let’s wrap this up:

Make your work relevant to your audience and once that happens, readers will want to immerse themselves in everything you write. In a book with a story, just remember engagement (particularly emotional engagement) and a solid plot is key to any story with a narrative. Once people are no longer engaged, the book is no longer reaching anyone. For those of you who stick to writing about facts, make it relevant, and the engagement from readers will happen on its own.

About Ashton Rice:

As a sequential art major out of SCAD, Ashton began writing as an intern editing for The Borgen Project. He learned valuable experience as an editor and writer while taking on this role, and discovered a passion for writing and sharing information and ideas through written language.

Ashton now writes for SOLRAD Magazine and Write-On e-Publishing. His passion for comics still persists, and he continues to write and illustrate his own comics while studying up and coming alternative artists for reviews and interviews for the SOLRAD Magazine. Ashton favors writing science fiction as well as contemporary fiction in his personal work.

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