The publishing business can be an overwhelming one. We hear so much advice from so many different sources. And to make things even more overwhelming, that advice often conflicts.
So what’s an author to do?
When we have a million voices shouting at us from a million different directions, who do we listen to? What do we listen to?
I won’t pretend to have it figured out. But this past weekend, I attended a workshop at the ACFW conference that helped quiet the noise and simplify the chaos. Ami McConnell, an editor for Thomas Nelson, shared a piece of advice that left me feeling lighter.
The piece of advice was this:
Love your reader.
So very simple. Yet so very profound.
In an industry where the could-do’s on an author’s list multiplies with ridiculous speed, this is the one thing I think we can all agree upon. The one thing that would benefit us all. Developing a genuine love for our readers and letting that love be the foundation upon which we build our careers.
So the question is this: How do we love our readers? There are all kinds of ways, but for today’s post, I just want to share three.
We love our readers when we take the time to know them.
You can’t love who you don’t know. As writers, it’s important to figure out who our readers are or will be. It’s important to be available to them. To listen to them. To respond to them. And when we take the time to know them, to see them as real people with real problems, hopes, and fears, something about the way we write and the way we interact on social media shifts. This journey and our stories become less about us and more about them.
We love our readers when we respect them.
This includes respecting their time. And reading a book takes time. We want to craft stories that make the time our readers spend on our words worthwhile. So are we constantly learning and improving and striving to create stories that will leave our readers entertained? Changed? Edified?
We love our readers when we share a piece of ourselves.
The best writing comes from a place of vulnerability. And being vulnerable means exploring and revealing parts of ourselves that aren’t pretty, parts of ourselves that might be painful. But when we do that, when we risk vulnerability, we’re reaching for a greater purpose. Our words are no longer about book sales and the market, they’re about touching something deep inside our readers. They’re about speaking truth, offering hope, and leaving people inspired.
Do you feel overwhelmed as you travel this journey? What overwhelms you the most? What are other ways we can love our reader?